African Art in Decor

African Art in Decor

Using African art in decor, colors can be evocative of the sunburnt earth; deep, verdant rainforests; softly wistful savannah plains; burnt orange sunsets or pinkly-purple sunrises and vibrant splashes of raw hues reminiscent of crazily energetic African market places.

Not to forget the graphic concepts of black and white, both figurative and literal, which often reflect the mastery of decoration used by African artisans.
Using African products in an interior or external environment gives one the opportunity to use unique pieces that portray the artistic and spiritual nature of the African people.
Using quality art forms that reveal the complexity of their invention and their culture is a sure way to reflect one’s own passion and creativity.

One can divide African decor (the furnishing and decoration of a room) into the following categories:

  • Antique / traditional, which includes both tribal and colonial pieces
  • Nature inspired 
  • Safari/wildlife 
  • Ethnic or tribal 
  • Contemporary/modern, locally and internationally manufactured but inspired by Africa
  • Recycled

Decorating with African art

These days decorators and homemakers happily and successfully blend two, or even three, amalgamating styles into one interior. Anything goes as long as it’s tasteful! Whatever one’s call, there is huge delight and joy to be taken from using both old, and new, African furniture and artifacts in one’s spaces to create both a point of interest and elegance of form.
African art (paintings, sculpture, photography and installations), textiles, craft and furniture all contribute effectively to the styling of an African inspired environment.
Exteriors can also echo African nature with indigenous planting and landscaping including using sculptures for dramatic focus points. African furniture production in past and current times often uses hardwoods like ebony. As a citizen of this continent I believe it is essential to be aware of sustainable felling and production.
I truly believe that we, as consumers, must use our conscience and try to source products from environments, companies and communities that are committed to sustainability and are also concerned with the welfare of the inhabitants, employees and societies.

Mutual benefit to all concerned with the production and purchase of the items manufactured must exist. There are products with sustainable timber certification and one needs to make an effort to search and purchase accordingly.

There are many ways of adding African decor authenticity and flavor to one’s rooms and outdoor spaces:

  • Furniture Artefacts: masks, shields, spears, walking sticks, knives, containers, snuff boxes, pipes, musical instruments, headwear
  • Skins, hides and leather
  • Textiles Lighting Accessories: cushions, pottery, basketry, beaded items, rugs, ceramics, frames, table linen, throws
  • Fine Arts: paintings, prints, photographs
  • Sculpture: wood, metal, stone
  • Found objects, natural and discarded

An individual has so many ways to make a statement with African decor.
The joy of it is that not everything needs to be about expense, there are many items that can be purchased through community practices which also ensure that the crafter/artist is receiving a deserving payment for the creation of the product.

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