African & European Images of Each Other
In their art, Europeans have depicted Africans for over a thousand years. Africans have depicted Europeans for the last 450+ years. Together, these images illustrate major historical changes in relations and attitudes between the peoples of the two continents. Racism and stereotyping have not always existed between the two peoples. Looking at these images allows students to view beautiful art and to interpret its historical significance.
European Images of Africans
The Age of Imperialism through the Lens of Art
The two images below can help to provoke conversation about what the early nineteenth century was like for a European encountering Africa or Africans. The following two European images show the benevolent colonialism approach to Africa — depicting “the other” the African savages (Ex. The crocodile and the man are depicted with the same–nose, “hands”, etc)
For more information on this topic, take a look at David Northrup’s book “Africa’s Discovery of Europe”, which includes all types of materials on this topic.
African images of Europeans
Ivory Salt-Cellar with Boat, Benin, 16th Century
In the Search window, enter “Salt Cellar with Boat”
Chinese art showing African trade
Mosques in Mali: the art of architecture
The Grand Mosque of Mopti, in Mali
Barbara B. Brown, PhD
Outreach Director, Africa in the School and Community