Cultural Home-work

An Home Work topic from my 1st year class, Fine Arts Department, University of Balochistan. January 2005

What is the relation of art with culture and why it is compulsory for a Fine Art student to study culture?
“The entirety of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, and all other products of human work and thoughts decorative, artifacts, environmental pollutants, high art, political ideologies, ritual beliefs, social customs, and so on…”(1)
Art is just for aesthetic purpose for mind satisfaction. But we have no explanation and evidence that what is the force behind this mind satisfaction for which we humans are unconsciously compel to follow. Art gives us spirituality and satisfy our lust for aesthetics.
The relation of art with culture:
Culture is the combined name of all arts such as marriage ceremonies, burying the dead, magic, decoration and many other such kind of activities and rituals. Humans share almost same rules of survival like protection from weather and food for live on and yet every society forms its own culture.
Culture or cultures arise from the immaterial (art) activities of the humans. If we look at the early, 15000 years ago, art works of Homo Spiens-Speins which are still present on the walls of the caves in southern France in the form of animal paintings. Yet it is not clear that these paintings are hunting lessons or aesthetics but drawing an object in itself is cultural, is a art (drawing/painting) that has been learnt and put into practice. This makes humans abstract from animal world, because no other mammal or any other animal have such intellect like humans yes they (animals) have intelligence but only to their needs. And Homo Spiens-Spiens also believed in magic, as archeological researches show “early man may have invoked magic in an attempt to improve his hunting success”(2). Thus we can call their age a typical hunting culture because hunting was their survival and art too. That is culture, what ever will be your need it will be your style.
Lets take the culture of Middle Eastern people which is different from the culture of European people. Middle East is faraway, there are different cultures within Europe itself. For example, the culture of Dutch people is different from their Swedish counterparts. Why cultures are different from each other? And why there are many cultures in one continent?
First because of distances and geographical conditions in which these cultures flourish. And secondly, in the case of continents, there are many cultures in only one continent and even there are more than one culture in a single country. If we see the cultures in broader perspective, on international level, they become affiliated with their continent names from were the cultures belong. Like Asian culture, African culture and so on.
Differences between cultures is because of people who follow the trends and values of their forefathers and the forefathers had inherited these values from their forefathers and this process goes back to thousands of years of experience. Like this each culture has its won history. Today we are following the values of our forefathers and make changes in these values according to our conditions, in other words to bring reform in these values as our forebears did. And this reform process is alive where there is culture.
If every society has its won culture probably then they have their own artistic (fine arts) taste and style. From Bauhaus school of thought to the truck art of Peshawar. Western countries have their style and third world countries have their own. It not means that western art is excellent and third world art is not good. Each society’s art is respectful. Other fields of society (culture) have their impact on arts like education and industry. If some nation is more educated then it will exploit ever field of its society including art, by researching its history.
Today industrialized nations have many opportunities of travel and communication with which artists from different countries can share their views easily. Internet is part of our daily life which is a invention of industrialized nations, With internet we can visit the website/homepage of a anonymous artist from Peru or we can search on internet the websites of different art schools around the world. By seeing the works of an artist in pacific with a single click on a computer button it is evident that it will impact on our art work. Thus art changes according to its surroundings. Stone Age men had their art we have our art, but with a big difference in it. With the passage of time conditions will change so too art style.
Why it is compulsory for a fine art student to study culture:
It is very necessary for a fine art student to study culture. Fine art itself is a part of culture and by studying culture students will know the values of culture critically. A fine artist’s aim is to attract people to his/her work. In artistic language, to disturb the inner feeling of the viewer. By wanting people to be attracted by their work artists must know the society’s values very well, by studying culture.
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(2)Reader’s Digest, Library of Modern Knowledge, Page 432.

Shahnawaz Baloch


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