Looking back to Black History Month, we honor artistic forms created and enriched by people of African descent.
Art has been with human beings since the beginning of time.
Artistic expressions are essential for humans to channel our emotions. Having our emotions visualized and made into music allows us to connect with each other in means beyond words can ever convey.
Throughout the past centuries, black artists have honored and developed vibrant, abundant, and versatile artistic forms of expression, which, till now, provides us with tremendous value and enjoyment.
Folk dance is very common in Africa. A welcoming dance is a great way to forget about everyone's differences. Folk dance is something practiced and celebrated in a collective manner. Singles and couples can dance in the middle of a circle.
Oftentimes, all members of a community can dance, from children to adults. In fact, no boundaries exist between the leader and the dance audience. Even for ritual dances, it is possible to form a circle with the audience.
Traditional African artifacts endowed with cultural crafting originated from pre-historical times. They express unique African culture, history, and spirits.
During colonial times, many African artifacts were stolen and robbed of their land of origins and shipped to Europe for display.
One hundred and twenty-three years ago, a large number of Nigerian artifacts were taken by force during the colonial period.
Many of the looted artifacts are still being auctioned and displayed around in Europe instead of being given back to their homelands.
African governments and civil society are actively demanding these priceless treasures be returned to their respective country. To illustrate, on a diplomatic trip to Berlin, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture demanded that Benin Bronzes looted in the 19th century be returned to Nigeria in intact conditions. He also stressed that the repatriation of artifacts should be an on-going effort.
In 2021, 26 pieces of artwork were successfully expatriated back to Benin State.
There is still a long way before the just and complete repatriation of African artifacts, and we need to keep fighting for it.
Hip hop is composed of two slang words: hip, meaning "to be in", and hop, meaning "to party". In addition, the word "rap" generally refers to "to beat or to throb". It became slang at the start of the century for "talk", or "blab, tell".
In the 1940s and 1950s, the word "rap" generally denoted 'rhythmic speaking'. This is how it is used today: "rap" is usually associated with speaking solo, as compared to hip-hop. Hip hop refers to the entire culture of music and rhythmic expression, encompassing music, breakdance, graffiti, and other forms of expression. Hip hop summarizes an attitude and a way of living.
Three phenomena were prominent in hip-hop's early years: chanting, graffiti, and acrobatic breakdancing. Hip-hop music is now primarily used for dance music. It can often be an extension of black music traditions like soul, funk, and sometimes jazz, thanks to the use of contemporary studio technology.
The popularity of hip hop has drawn people’s attention to the abundance of talent and creativity in the black community, along with enriching mankind with an amazing and blessed art form.
Modern dances among black communities embrace a sense of power and vibrancy.
Hip hop street dance is a type of modern dance.
This is a form of street dancing that originated from the free and easy black dance found on the streets in the United States. You can relax and enjoy the passionate and energetic music by simply wearing your favorite T-shirt and loose boards.
Street dance is full of energy and excitement.
Hip hop street dance was first developed in New York in the 1990s. It is an amalgamation of several activities, including running, walking, jumping, and forearm movements.
Blues as a melodic style, compassion, and improvisation constitute the major features of jazz.
When it comes to the birth of jazz, two groups of people in New Orleans took a pioneering role: uptown blacks and Creoles.
Creoles, who are mixed, have the right to vote, access to higher education, and the right to property ownership. Uptown blacks were denied voting rights and education access and were treated unfairly and inexcusably. Both groups disliked each other's music. The Creoles were proud to be able to read musical scripts and despised uptown blacks' musical expressions, while the uptown blacks were proud to be able to learn music by ear and enjoyed the freedom to improvise.
The infamous Jim Crow law forced the two groups together and New Orleans jazz came into being in the process. Polyphony, meaning a group of soloists playing their own improvisations, is the hallmark texture of New Orleans jazz. During a performance, although you might initially feel disorganized, you will soon be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of musical information.
The popularity of jazz in the past decades has showcased the allure of this art form and manifested the contribution of black people to the art world, demonstrating tenacity and resilience.
Black visual art is a term that summarizes distinctive visual art creations from the black community, building on existing fine art properties and developing unique cultural characters at the same time.
Prominent black visual artists include Joshua Johnson, who taught himself to paint portraits, making his way to the National Gallery of Art through depicting residents of Maryland. Kehinde Wiley, a contemporary black visual artist who focuses on naturalistic portrait painting, championed black figures in particular.
Fine art can cover a range of topics including one’s personal life experiences, traditions and customs in Africa, politicized messages and so forth.
Maison Septem honors black artists and celebrate black achievements together with you. We deliver world-class craft with high value materials to help you memorialize your own accomplishments.