Wingo, Ajume H.. The Many-Layered Aesthetics of African Art
2005, in A Companion to African Philosophy, ed. by Kwasi Wiredu (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing).
Added by: Simon Fokt
Content: Wingo contrasts the traditional Western approaches to art classification with some African traditions in which what gives art its status is the social context in which it is situated, the community that art creates. He reviews some of the ways in which art is approached in those cultures, focusing on its functional, everyday character and sensual nature. Art is not meant for disinterested intellectual contemplation, but for sense experience, and should have the capacity to really move its audience. Similarly, the forms of African art are often different, including mask and costume making and dance. Wingo offers an overview of ways in which such works can be embedded in other cultural practices, and discusses how they are commonly perceived and approached.
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Comment: This text is particularly valuable as a description of a set of art-related beliefs and practices which are different from those commonly accepted in the modern Western artworld. As a vivid first-hand account, it is particularly good at drawing attention to those differences.