I personally believe it would be very helpful and informative to see more cultural and traditional pieces within our history textbooks for many are inadequately represented not gaining the recognition that is deserved. As all the art textbooks that I have come across do give a thorough understanding of worldwide arts and design nonetheless it is heavily comprised of the European arts. Yes, artists who are interested in doing further research on specific styles of art that they find are interesting are able to do so to further educate themselves. However, it is very unfortunate to see how brief and concise many cultural styles of art are being represented within our very own textbooks. From my own experiences growing up, I felt art had to be very eurocentric or westernized to be celebrated and accepted because I was only surrounded by what was shown in our textbooks and a part of the art history curriculum. But over the years it has been very interesting to see the representation of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds outside of textbooks. The recent recognition and celebration of our differences helping to inform one another of our cultures, values, and traditions to create a deeper understanding of one other.
As an artist who is ethnically Korean, there has recently been an influx in attraction to the Korean culture through the numerous achievements that have been made throughout the years attracting many to the different sectors of what makes up Korean life and culture it is definitely lacking in the arts. As the visual and fine arts are nearly represented as much as the music, dance, and entertainment section.
There is such a richness in the traditional arts such as folk painting, calligraphy, mulberry paper (Hanji), and etc. Though Korean, Chinese, and Japanese art all share similar concepts, motifs, techniques, and forms as time has passed to each their own have developed into their own distinct styles. As an example, not many know of the traditional Korean masks called 탈 (Tal) that are made of wood with a black cloth attached to the sides to mimic that of hair as the mask bearer has information about themselves revealed through the mask itself. When first looked upon they are not very appealing, almost grotesque and unappealing looking due to the saturated use of colours with exaggerated facial features. These masks are painted in primary colours to represent an individual’s personality and social class, and gender.
- “Korea Information – Culture and the Arts.” Korean Cultural Center New York, www.koreanculture.org/korea-information-culture-and-the-arts.
- Panero, James, et al. “Korean Culture Is on the Rise. What About Korean Art?” National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), www.neh.gov/humanities/2014/julyaugust/feature/korean-culture-the-rise-what-about-korean-art.
- team, travel360.com editorial. “South Korea: Mask Unmasked.” Travel360.Com, 1 Sept. 2019, www.travel360.com/south-korea-mask-unmasked/.