It’s sad that when most Africans come into contact with anything African, they instantly think of juju, evil or devil worship. But is this really everything about Africa and its art, or is this the Africa we have been presented with?
What truly makes us Africans besides the colour of our skin? Think about it! Majority of us speak English throughout our lives, dress western, eat western food, build houses and decorate our homes with Western art. Everything is imported!! And this makes us like a low grade version of the western world! Ouch, yes! But it’s true.
Why because, we have forgotten our God-given uniqueness and are trying to be like others who were created to do exactly what they do. An eagle, can live amongst chickens and try to be a chicken but will never fit it, until it lifts up its wings and does what eagles do. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being inspired by other cultures, what’s wrong is when we abandon ours without enhancing it to suit the modern times we live in.
And to all those who demonize African Art, my question is: where did the knowledge and skill used to create our unique style of works come from? The devil? No, God forbid! If the devil inspired all creativity and more, will God approve of Daniel and Moses studying the works and wisdom of the Egyptians and Babylonians? When Aaron made the golden calf for the people of God to worship whiles Moses was up the mountain, who placed that talent within him? The fact that he was led or inspired to use it for the wrong purpose doesn’t mean the devil gave him his talent.
God gives wisdom and creativity, what man does with his talent will be between he and God on judgement day. If you choose to create work and place it in a shrine, that’s between you and God on judgment day, but if you create a work of art that makes people know Him, glory be to God.
Many Africans sadly are a disgrace to the continent. They live in their own westernized bubble thinking that everything African is evil and demonic whiles in actual sense, are just being deceived in other ways by spirits they have no knowledge of. We see Africa and our culture as evil, and western stuff as pure and harmless. Isn’t this still slavery? Mental slavery!
It’s quiet simple: If you can’t discern the spirit behind a piece of art, please shut up and walk away. Don’t display your ignorance by calling everything evil or created with an evil intent. Christianity doesn’t mean you abandon the creative gifting and uniqueness that God has given you. It simply means you channel it all to God’s glory. All works must point to God. When an artist becomes a Christian, he must build upon the Word of God by using the gifts and knowledge he/she has acquired over the years. No where in the Bible does God tell us to discard all knowledge gained and begin to mimic works from other cultures.
Do you stop carving because you know God? Or will let God work through you to turn your carvings into works that please him. Many African artists will get this, but others who are still blinded will simply prefer Africans to begin carving like others in the western world. This again is a heavy disgrace to the continent. This is why we are backwards; because we have lost our identity and are trying to be like a people we are not. God has given us something unique in this land, and all we are doing is to ignore it all and copy other cultures who are being unique.
Lions cannot be cheetahs and vice versa. Africa cannot be Europe and vice versa. We fail the moment we try to be western in our arts, music, dance and everything that should be unique to us. God gave us what we have for a reason, to show His creative power working through us. Africa is blessed with a unique culture, rich art, crafts and world view. Let’s use this and stop looking down upon ourselves.
Thanks for reading🙏🏽😊.