Discuss the Interrelationship Between Art and Nation Building in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

Topics: Harlem Renaissance, African American, New York City Pages: 2 (585 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Discuss the interrelationship between art and nation building in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Harlem Renaissance; a revolutionary outburst of creative activity among African-Americans occurred in all fields of art between 1920-1930. It was a cultural and psychological turning point, an era in which black people were perceived as having finally liberated themselves from a past filled with self-doubt. It was originally called “The New Negro Movement”. It was centered in the Harlem district of New York City, but expanded across the western world. Harlem attracted a successful and stylish black middle class from which sprang an extraordinary artistic center. Like the avant-garde movements in Europe, it embraced all the art forms, including art, literature, music, dance, film, theatre and cabaret. Harlem nightlife, with its dance halls and jazz bands, featured prominently in the work of these artists. It was ore than a literary movement and more than a social revolt against racism; the Harlem Renaissance elevated the unique culture of African-Americans and redefined the African-American expression. African-Americans were encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to become "The New Negro," a term coined in 1925 by sociologist and critic Alain LeRoy Locke. One of the many factors contributing to the rise of the Harlem Renaissance was the great migration of African-Americans to northern cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. between 1919 and 1926. Visual artists played a key role in creating depictions of the New Negro. They celebrated the beauty of blackness by fusing their unique American experience with African traditions. Artists at the core of the Harlem Renaissance movement included painters Aaron Douglas, Palmer Hayden, William H. Johnson, Lois Mailou Jones and the sculptor and printmaker Sargent Claude Johnson. Other prominent artists associated with the Harlem Renaissance included Jacob Lawrence, Archibald Motley and...
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