Cultural Appropriation Essay

1129 Words5 Pages
Cultural appropriation has been used throughout history to imply messages in both art and design. Often used in political art, satire and contempary art, this type of insinuation uses popular symbols of a culture or sub-culture (these symbols often stem from stereotypes so that they can be understood by the masses) to further layer an artwork or imply a deeper meaning by hinting towards a characteristic of said culture. The key to identifying appropriation is whether these symbols and signs are being used out of their original context. It is therefore important to understand the meaning of cultural appropriation and how it is used, to completely comprehend these works of art. This essay considers three works and how cultural appropriation was…show more content…
During these travels, she build up a large collection of African sculptures as well as Mozambican doors that she often used as frames for her work. Many of her still lifes features bowls of fruit, among other things, and her sculptures. This is a brilliant example of cultural appropriation. Statues in African cultures, are not used for aesthetic purposes, they are functional objects used in ceremonies and rituals by tribes and villages. They are created for this purpose and are often destroyed after they have served their use.
Sterns use of these sculptures was purely for display and aesthetic purposes, both in her home and in her works. The purpose and meaning of these statues completely change when they are put on display and ironically, their value decreases. This is a perfect example of how once an object is removed from its context and used for appropriation, the meaning is layered and distorted.
These examples show us how symbols with pre-determined meanings and purposes can be used to layer meaning in new works by bringing with it, its own connotations and opinions. Although the line between appropriation and stealing is thin, it is an effective cross-cultural tool to create meaning in a

More about Cultural Appropriation Essay

Open Document