The cultural and artistic productions of Africa have different dimensions that emphasize the critical role art plays in the development of societies. This justifies why art and societal living and progression are intertwined. This report clarifies the influence of art in the social, political, and economic development in African societies.
African art is connected to the development of the total life of Africans. This includes the dressing styles, eating customs, values and the standards in the African society. It also embraces the use of art and our cultural heritage in addressing the social issues faced by the cultural societies from the African continent. Many modern societies in Africa are faced with the challenge of teenage pregnancy, environmental pollution and other kinds of social vices. Strategies and solutions to those staggering problems can be seen in the sound values, norms, belief systems and practices in Africa. For instance, many scholars in African studies and cultures are calling for a re-visitation and revival of the indigenous practices of initiation rites for the childhood that ensured that moral chasteness was preserved by the youth, including the abstinence from pre-marital gender and the other kinds of social vices connected to the youth today. It was the measure set up by the elderly members of the societies in introducing the mantle of leadership to the youth. The initiation rites were platforms for keeping the youth abreast with their social duties as responsible adults.
In addition, the African cosmological belief systems also call for living in harmony with nature while sustainable using nature’s resources. Finding ways of implementing such precepts in contemporary African societies could bolster their social growth. Moreover, African art and culture unearth the language diversities of Africa. It traces the historical development of languages, that’s the first step in understanding the cultures of a people. The study of the various forms of art, for example, attire, color choice, design elements, shapes and so on, aids in understanding the social classes and personalities in the African society.
Politically, African art and culture play quintessential roles in the political lives of the African individuals. The political artefacts function as a way of identifying and defining the political roles of rulers such as traditional chiefs, spokespersons, traditional priests etc. The political arts empower the ruling class in Africa in performing their priestly duties; exercise their administrative, executive, judicial and military duties.
Economically, the many forms of African art enhance the standard of living of the African American people. The production and use of the arts satisfy the needs of the people in the society either directly or indirectly. The direct means of producing the artworks in addressing the needs of the people are through the selling of the art pieces and the usage of them in carrying out their daily activities. It also involves the use of art forms as incentives for increasing the production of different products and services in the community to enhance the general wellbeing of the people. The study of African American art and culture highlights the role of art in providing vocations and job avenues for the members of the society. In times of economic strains, the artworks can be sold to improve the conditions of living of the people. Court artists that produce the general regalia of the nation such as stools, palanquins, spokesmen staff, textiles and others generate economic revenue from them. During festivals and other cultural events in Africa, these regalia souvenir items are offered to the general public, especially tourists, generating fiscal earnings. This greatly enhances the tourism sector of countries in Africa.
The article highlights the terrific advantages that African societies can gain from the arts and culture practised by the people. African governments, ministries and NGO’s in charge of the development of art, culture and tourism must ensure the growth of this field. Funding in the form of scholarships, research grants and awards must be provided to young scholars, researchers and artists to enhance the study of African art and culture as it is a pinnacle of the social, political and economic development of Africa.