The field of indigenous art is extensively researched, admired, and honored all over the world. This has helped us better understand the art form, its historical significance, and the role it continues to play in its respective culture. Let’s gain a deeper appreciation for the traditional and contemporary forms of American Indian art by understanding some of the most important functions that the art serves.
The Importance of Indigenous Art
Art occupies a highly unique and significant position in Native American culture, just as significant as music’s role in that society. Since the beginning of the Native American way of life, art has played an essential role as a medium of communication, serving this function for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. Most Native American sculptures were made in the form of symbols, such as bears, walruses, eagles, or even people. This artwork was created using various materials, including clay, fabric, feathers, and pebbles.
There are tremendous possibilities to learn from different cultures how to handle our emotional anguish, stop blaming ourselves, and put an end to chasing our tails and searching for answers that don’t exist. When we examine various cultures through a broad lens, we equip ourselves with fresh perspectives and practices that have helped others maintain their resilience and be happy despite adversity.
It’s an Expression of Culture
American Indian art was also created to respect one’s family and tribal heritage. A totem pole was erected as one of the most significant symbols that could be made to demonstrate respect for the family. These were massive, intricate sculptures made of wood, carved in exquisite detail to depict the faces of ancestors, who were sometimes even represented by animals. In order to honor and pay respect to successive generations of a family and famous members of the tribe, totem poles and other forms of expression were utilized.
It Gives an Insight into Religion
Religion wields a significant amount of sway over the indigenous peoples, as it does over people of all other cultures. Art was and still is a method to glorify their philosophy, and it has always been that way. They wove and painted many religious symbols into a wide variety of handicrafts. These objects were designed to appease gods, appease angry gods who were causing devastation to nature, observe new spirits, and frighten away wicked ones. The indigenous people produced a significant portion of their art to influence their natural surroundings.
It Delves into Mental Health
Native Americans hold a holistic perspective concerning mental health; they do not differentiate between the mind, body, and spirit, and they place high importance on using natural remedies to assist in the recovery of those who are ill.
The individual’s family and the community are a part of the healing process, and receiving support from others is the key approach to getting well. The worldview of the American Indian people places a strong emphasis on the significance of a sense of belonging to both the quality of interpersonal interactions as well as the health and happiness of individuals, families, and communities.
The Bottom Line
As a result of coming into conflict with the norms and customs of the West, the lives of Native Americans were turned upside down in profound and life-altering ways. However, many have long-lasting belief systems and cultural traditions handed down from generation to generation. These may act as models for us to explore to improve our well-being.