The Art of Native North America

The art of Native North America is a very diversified and variegated phenomenon. This tendency in this art can be explained by the diversity of peoples and cultures inhabiting this region through the centuries. During all the period of human history, this territory was inhabited by hundreds of nations, speaking the most varied languages and having the most diversified vision of the world around them. All of that resulted in the creation of such a variety of cultures in this region. The most outstanding ones of them belong to such nations as the Arctic, Tlingit, Kwakiutl, Pueblos, Navajo, Kiowa, Comanche, and Omaha.

In the following paper, the art of Native North America will be analyzed in terms of its diversity and any common tendencies which can be found in it. In fact, evaluating a row of examples from different North American cultures including masks of the Arctic culture, Puebloan ceremonies, Totem poles, the Navajo dry paintings, and the Omaha religious celebrations, it appears that there exists a measure of similar tendencies in it such as religious outlook seen in the art and the use of art as means of communicating with the next generations.

First of all, speaking about any common tendencies which can be found among the art of different nations inhabiting the region under consideration, it should be that they are not many. Namely, in different cultures of that regions some similarities in understanding are seen in the treatment of the human figure; patterns; animals and plants; and the role of ancestor spirits. Such similarities are explained by religious beliefs spread in the region and the style of life common for any particular nation inhabiting the region.

Further, addressing the similarities in the art of this vast geographical region, the following examples will be examined: masks of the Arctic culture worn by shamans while religious ceremonies, Puebloan ceremonies representing the tendency to worship spirits which were believed to inhabit the surrounding nature, Totem poles reflecting similar religious beliefs based on worshipping spirits, the Navajo dry paintings depicting the scenes from worshipping to spirits, and the Omaha religious celebrations based on honoring spirits including those ones of the ancestors.

All these illustrations belonging to varied cultures living in different territories and in different time periods show the main tendencies of worshipping spirits and religious themes being a top interest idea addressed in the artworks of Native North America.

As a final point, it is evident that the pieces of art from varied territories of Native North America have few things in common as all the cultures inhabiting the region are very different and independent. Still, examining such interesting objects as masks of the Arctic culture, Puebloan ceremonies, Totem poles, the Navajo dry paintings, and the Omaha religious celebrations, some common ideas can be noticed.

Namely, these objects have similar concepts of worshiping to spirits and ancestors; they are relatively simplified and are mainly related to household and used for decoration of the houses. The art of this region is seen as rather trivialized as it mainly features the banalest manifestations of creativity, and is not rich in architectural, sculptural, or painting manifestations. There also exist some significant differences between the art of different parts of this region which is mainly seen in the level of its sophistication as, in general, the art of this region is very simple.

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