As mentioned in the readings, the discussion of what makes African art authentic is a complex topic. I think the markers of authentic African art have several markers including: the talent and skill of the artist; recognition of the artist by African society; spiritual connection of the art object through special meaning or rituals; and genuineness. These markers add uniqueness to the art because of the link to the African culture. For example, an art piece such as a mask can have genuine qualities through the maker’s mark the artist inscribes or the tool marks made by the artists tools. These marks make the art piece more unique and authentic than a mass produced mask of similar artistic appearance. A true art connoisseur would be able to recognize the maker’s mark and unique tool marks. In relation to the genuine quality of an authentic art piece, the local recognition of the artist and their work is known throughout the culture. When the maker’s mark is recognized on the piece, the quality and reputation of the artist goes along with the recognition.
I think authentic African art should be appreciated for its craftsmanship and quality. As mentioned in the reading the costumes or outfits prepared for the dances of the African tribes require superior skill and craftsmanship to hold up to the rigorous use of the dancers. The quality that goes into making a dancer’s outfit needs to be well crafted so the outfit does not fall apart during the dance. Therefore, I think the craftsmanship of the art should be part of the appreciation for the artist’s skill and care that goes into making the art. The skill and quality of the art piece can also add to the artist’s reputation and recognition. I think the quality of the art piece is one the most important markers for the appreciation of the art piece.
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