I think we need to look at this, as Graeme Chalmers suggested, "through the eyes
of an anthropologist".
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: CELEBRATING PLURALISM and appropriation.
Author: "Nancy Walkup" <walkup> at EDU-INTERNET
Date: 2/12/97 10:59 AM
> From: EVasso
> Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 19:25:47 -0500 (EST)
> To: artsednet
> Subject: Re: CELEBRATING PLURALISM and appropriation.
> In a message dated 97-02-11 00:18:41 EST, Bekalex (Becky
> Alexander) writes:
> << Most of the world
> today seems to share a common culture. Industry, commercialization and
> communication technologies are minimizing true cultural differences as we
> have understood them (I did not say they are obsolete!) >>
> I do not believe that this statement is true.,
> To "share" something implies a sense of equality...some good for you...some
> good for me. As long as there are inequalities among nations, peoples and
> culture, then sharing becomes problematic. Where are the museums in Africa
> that display the stolen artifacts of Europe and North America? Exactly what
> Arab explorer looted the buriel tombs of France, Germany or England?
> In spite of this (maybe because of this) indigenous peoples hold on to their
> cultures and traditions. All cultures have not become the same. Exactly
> what and where is this common world culture? While all human beings share
> some cultural attributes, differences persist. Cultures are unique...and
> they have a context. That is the point that has been made here. How do we
> teach and learn about other cultures in context, a context that is not white
> and eurocentric?
> While it is certainly true that European artists such as Picasso and
> Kandinsky "appropriated" African forms, they did just that: lifted the formal
> aspects of the work and ignored the cultural context.
> For art teachers to treat this as something other than a problem to be
> wrestled with, to treat it as something other than a dilemma, is, itself,
> cause for concern.
I do think that there is a "common" popular culture that
endangers the unique qualities of differing cultures. This
popular culture, spread primarily through television, movies,
popular music, and fast food restaurants, seems to provide
the lowest common denominator. I don't often find this addressed
in discussions on culture. What do you think?
Nancy Walkup, Project Coordinator
North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts
PO Box 5098, University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203
817/565-3986 FAX 817/565-4867