"The continent of Africa is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say "Africa". In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist." writer Ryszard Kaperscinki
Researchers do not always know the history of African artworks. Most of the information is derived from archaeology and field research in Africa. Researchers mainly interview local people on the use, function, and meaning of art objects.
People - Humankind probably started on the continent. Hundreds of distinct ethnic, cultural & linguistic groups of people.
On the AP Exam you will be asked to compare, contrast or discuss artwork from Beyond the European Tradition. Ancient Egyptian and Roman settlements in North Africa developed as a result of European interaction. Those artworks are considered western. African cultures from regions south of the Sahara developed independent of European influence. The art in this unit is outside the European tradition and should be included in your study of non-western art.
Islam was also very influential in the development of Africa, particularly on the Northern coast and the Horn of Africa. Islamic art will be studied in a separate unit.
Art helped African civilizations define and create their culture. Objects were not solely created for display; it was integrated with their life and thought. Art was created for: