Have you been to the museum recently?
No, there’s never anything interesting there.
Haven’t you seen their latest work of art. It’s a painting done by a great contemporary artist on the slave trade and Nigerian history. I felt so sad when I saw it, the painting really showed how much our forefathers suffered as slaves.
How can you feel so much from a picture? That must be a really powerful work of art.
Art conveys messages about our lives. It can teach us about ourselves, All art has a message or a question.
Messages about: - Beauty - Religion - Pain - Love - Sexuality - Culture
Really, art is everywhere around us all the time, just like sexuality. You can see art every day at home, at school, even on the street while you’re going out.
Art in a restaurant
I see a lot of art in my church.
Religion uses a lot of art in its practices because art affects people’s emotions. It’s very powerful.
True, the mosque building by my house is very artistically designed.
And so is the church my family attends.
That’s it, Tunde. The architecture of a church can be a form of art all by itself. Even the images of worship in the church are very symbolic – you know how the Holy Spirit is always pictured as a dove?
That’s called a “symbol,” and it helps us to understand religious art better.
But religious art isn’t the only kind of art out there.
You can also divide art into “high art” or “low art.”
High arts are works of arts you find in places like museums, art galleries or preserved monuments.
“Low art” on the other hand is art which we find around us like porcelain work and pictures.
Some people think that only religious art can be high art, but that’s not true. For example, if you see a bus with a picture of a cross painted on the back, that’s religious low art.
Religious low art
Or look at our national racetrack. The building and the sculptures on it all make it an example of secular high art.
Now that we’ve got that clear, let’s talk about knowing society’s views on sexuality through arts.
Yes the dressing, music, painting, poems, sculptures and advertisements can readily show or even challenge the views about sexuality in that society.
Art can be joyous, sorrowful, or proud. Some art shows traditional sexuality values – a mother breastfeeding her child, a young family working together, a beautiful wedding ceremony.
Art can also be critical. Painting that depicts non-traditional families, or music that questions the way we think about relationships between men and women.
Mostly, art can be inspirational. When something touches your emotions, it can motivate you to be a better person, or to create some art of your own.
Do you remember the last time you saw something in the society that you wanted to record in some way, maybe by taking a picture, or painting, or even just writing about it in a journal?
Some people reflect their ideas and opinions with the way they dress, or they decorate their bodies with marks, piercings and tattoos.
For instance in Nigeria, our society distinguishes some groups of people through tribal marks.
Society's view of sexuality is also reflected through its arts.
Can you think of some examples of art showing sexuality?
I saw a statue in the market the other day that had a mother, a father, and a child all connected.
I saw that too! What do you think it means?
Well, I know that if I saw that in someone’s house, I would think they have a family, and they care very much about it. I think that sculpture shows that here in Nigeria we value families, and children especially. But is that related to sexuality?
Of course it is! Your family is where you first learn about sexuality, and where you’ll express it as an adult. That’s a good example.
I’m going to be looking for art everywhere when I go home tonight.
Me too! Let’s see how many works of art we can each find, and compare our totals tomorrow.
I’m way ahead of you, Wunmi. I already see a woman selling paintings on the next street! Bye!
Tunde, wait up!
page 1 / 42