Throughout the ages art has played a crucial role in life. Art is universal and because art is everywhere, we experience it on a daily basis. From the houses we live in (architecture) to the movies we see (theatre) to the books that we read (literature). Even in ancient culture art has played a crucial role. In prehistoric times cave dwellers drew on the wall of caves to record history. In biblical times paintings recorded the life and death of Christ. Throughout time art has recorded history. Most art is created for a specific reason or purpose, it has a way of expressing ideas and beliefs, and it can record the experiences of all people.
Most art has some sort of reason or purpose behind it. It might be religious, symbolic, literal, traditional, customary, or just a preference by the artist. Most African art has a symbolic reason. Masks, pottery, figures, portraits, jewelry, baskets and clothing reflect the religious belief of the different tribes. Africans believed that everything in nature is alive. For example: rocks, grass, plants, trees, rivers and mountains. African art was not popular and was looked down upon until recently. In Nigeria, people were tattooed as a test of courage. The figure- “Portrait Head of a King (Oni)” reflects this. The King has this tattooing on his entire face. The King has big slanted eyes, a prominent nose, and big full lips.