Area Handbook for Ivory Coast

By T. D. Roberts; Donald M. Bouton et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

The economic and social changes brought about by Westernization and economic development are having a profound influence on artistic expression. As the mode of life changes, the functional, symbolic and stylized traditional art is losing its purpose, and both artist and audience, confronted with new and often contradictory esthetic values, tend to be confused. The contemporary artist, trained in Europe or in the Ivory Coast by Europeans, struggles to balance the influence of two diverse cultures. In contrast to his traditional counterpart, who was an integral member of the community and whose work was essential to the religious and cultural life of the people, the contemporary artist finds a more ready patronage among Europeans than among his own countrymen. The conflict between traditional and Western values has prompted an effort on the part of many African artists and intellectuals to develop an art which will define and express the African personality in the modern world. This search for an African personality or for "negritude" is less pronounced in the Ivory Coast than in some other West African countries, but it is nevertheless present (see ch. 11, Social Values and Patterns of Living).

Artistic expression in traditional societies of West Africa was an adjunct to social and religious practices and ceremonies; there was almost no tradition of art for art's sake. The advent of Westernization brought with it new forms of artistic expression--painting, lithography, writing--and established a value of art for its own sake. The two art worlds exist side by side in the Ivory Coast today.

Until recently, interest in the artistic wealth of the Ivory Coast was higher among Europeans than among Ivory Coasters themselves. Educated Ivory Coasters, steeped in the traditions of French culture, for the most part regarded traditional artistic expression as primitive and an embarrassing reminder of the country's backwardness. Their preference lay with what they considered to be the more sophisticated European art. However, growing national pride and increasing interest in the history of Africa, fostered by the government in an effort to unify the people, are bringing with them a growing interest in the cultural and artistic traditions of the people themselves. The government has been spending both effort and money to collect the best examples of known Ivory Coast art, many of which have to be recovered from Europe, for preservation in the National Museum in Abidjan.

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Area Handbook for Ivory Coast
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Country Summary xi
  • Summary of Events: January 1963--December 1972 xv
  • Bibliography lvii
  • Preface to the First Edition lxv
  • Section I. Sociological Background 1
  • Chapter 1 General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2 Historical Setting 7
  • Chapter 3 Geography and Population 29
  • Chapter 4 Ethnic Groups and Languages 55
  • Chapter 5 Family 79
  • Chapter 6 Social Structure 95
  • Chapter 7 Education and Intellectual Expression 111
  • Chapter 8 Religion 131
  • Chapter 9 Artistic Expression 145
  • Chapter 10 Health and Welfare 155
  • Chapter 11 Social Values and Patterns of Living 169
  • Bibliography 179
  • Section II. Political Background 189
  • Chapter 12 Constitution and Government 189
  • Chapter 13 Political Dynamics 213
  • Chapter 14 Foreign Policy 231
  • Chapter 15 Information and Propaganda 251
  • Chapter 16 Attitudes and Reactions of the People 265
  • Bibliography 273
  • Section III. Economic Background 283
  • Chapter 17 Character and Structure of the Economy 283
  • Chapter 18 Agriculture 289
  • Chapter 19 Industry 309
  • Chapter 20 Labor 331
  • Chapter 21 Domestic and Foreign Trade 349
  • Chapter 22 Financial System 367
  • Bibliography 387
  • Section IV. National Security 395
  • Chapter 23 Public Order and Internal Security 395
  • Chapter 24 the Armed Forces 411
  • Bibliography 427
  • Glossary 431
  • Index 437
  • Published Area Handbooks 449
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