Art Across Cultures: How It Varied and What We Can Learn

Art Across Cultures: How It Varied and What We Can Learn
Art Across Cultures: How It Varied and What We Can Learn

Art is a universal language that has the power to connect cultures and transcend boundaries. While it is true that art is subjective, there are certain forms and styles that are distinctive to specific cultures. In this article, we will discuss how art varies across different cultures and what we can learn from it.

Cultural Influences on Art

Art is often shaped by cultural norms and values. The culture a piece of art belongs to will have a profound impact on its meaning, medium and use. For instance, African art is known for its use of wood carving and masks, often used in religious or spiritual contexts. Similarly, Islamic art is characterized by intricate geometric patterns, and Buddhist art is known for its serene depictions of Buddha and other figures.

Visual Language of Art

Art is also a visual language that communicates ideas and emotions. The use of colours, shapes, and patterns can convey different sentiments across different cultures. For instance, in Western Classical Art, the use of colour and light is focused primarily on creating a sense of realism. In contrast, Aboriginal art often uses a palette of earth tones coupled with detailed dotted patterns to convey spiritual and ancestral significance.

Style and Technique

Artistic styles and techniques can also vary across cultures. For instance, Japanese woodblock prints are known for their intricate patterns, while Chinese calligraphy is characterized by its delicate brushwork. Similarly, the Italian Renaissance is known for its use of perspective, and the Expressionist movement is characterized by bold, exaggerated forms.

Globalization and Art

With the rise of globalization, art has become more accessible, and artists have more opportunities to showcase their work to a global audience. As a result, cross-cultural influences are starting to permeate art forms worldwide. Artists are now able to blend styles and techniques from different cultures to create new and exciting forms of expression.


Art is undoubtedly shaped by culture, and its use of visual language, style and techniques are influenced by these cultural norms. As observers, there is much we can learn from art across cultures. We can gain insight into the unique values and customs of different societies, and how they manifest in artistic expression. We can appreciate the beauty of diversity and use this to build bridges across different communities.


Art across cultures is incredibly diverse, and there is much to learn from the various forms of artistic expression. While it is essential to respect cultural boundaries and acknowledge the unique qualities of each art form, we can also draw inspiration from the rich tapestry of artistic influence that exists worldwide. Ultimately, art is a means of connection and communication, and by embracing diversity, we can use it to build bridges across different cultures, fostering greater understanding and appreciation for one another.
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