Art influences society by installing values, changing opinions, and translating experiences across space and time. According to Guetzkow, for instance, art affects the fundamental sense of self (10). Research shows that active involvement in painting, music, and sculpture improves self-concept. Most importantly, art can be an essential tool for the understanding a people, their origin, history, and culture. An example of an African community, which can be understood based on its artworks is the Maasai.
The Maasai are an ethnic group living in northern Tanzania as well as central and southern regions of Kenya. The tribe is famous but unique due to its long preserved culture (“Maasai”). For example, civilization, education, and the impacts of Western culture that have influenced many communities throughout African. However, the Maasai people have maintained their traditional culture. The community’s dressing styleand distinctive way of life are manifested in their artwork.
The tribe is best known for its beautiful beadwork. The art plays a critical role in regards to the decoration of the body of the Maasai people. Culturally, the beading patterns are dictated by each age-set.For example, young Maasai men often spend long times working on decorating hairstyles using beads(“Maasai”). The ornate beads enhance youths’ appearance. Additionally, Beadworks forms part of the Maasai’s economic activity, showing that art preserves what historical records based on facts cannot.
Guetzkow, Joshua. “How the Arts Impact Communities.” Centre for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies (2002): 7-8.https://www.issuelab.org/resources/9753/9753.pdf.Accessed 29 Jan 2019.
“Maasai.” The University of Lowa, https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/maasai. Accessed 29 Jan 2019.
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