What Is Africa’s Influence on Modern Art?

Art|Modern Art

Africa has been an influence on modern art for thousands of years. From the ancient rock art of the Sahara Desert to contemporary installations in major international cities, African art has been an integral part of visual culture around the world. African art is characterized by its energy and passion, its intricate use of color and texture, and its ability to provoke thought and emotion.

African art has been a source of inspiration for many modern artists. The vibrant colors, bold geometric designs, and powerful abstract expressions found in African artwork have influenced many 20th century painters including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Picasso was particularly drawn to African masks which he believed were symbolic of the human struggle between civilization and savagery.

The influence of African art can also be seen in popular music. Jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, soul and hip-hop all incorporate elements from traditional African music such as call-and-response vocals and polyrhythms. Even today’s pop music often draws from the rhythms and melodies found in traditional African music.

African sculpture has also had a profound impact on modern art. The distinctive style of West African sculpture with its elongated figures and stylized features have been adopted by many contemporary artists such as Henry Moore who was inspired by the sculptures he encountered while travelling in Africa.


Africa’s influence on modern art is undeniable. From paintings to sculpture to music, elements from traditional African culture have become essential components of visual culture around the world. Africa’s unique aesthetic has inspired some of the most renowned modern artists, proving that creativity knows no boundaries.