Folk arts…a tradition which sails across the lives and miles

Folk Art

Why folk arts hold much importance in our life–folk arts are the traditional pieces of heritage that must be sustained as a reflection of our past history. It was the craftsmanship of our predecessors that depicted their daily life and occasions. Folk arts were not produced by ancient people for any name, fame or money. There were not even any named artists or some band groups behind the creation of any of the visual or performing folk arts. A folk music or any other folk art was composed for making their life simpler or as a part of family traditions.

Artistic work of prehistoric and preliterate people was transmitted orally through generations with an element of retention. Researches state that, there was only oral transfer of information until 4000 BCE. Between 4000 and 3000 BCE, writing was invented by the primitive men. Even though, several categories of folk arts survived the time span only because of rich tradition and cultural values followed by the family members. It is believed that most of the folk arts were predominantly functional or utilitarian. They were created for any of the domestic uses or as a special gift for the loved ones. For some special functions, ephemeral art works was produced. Every art form was made by the thoughtful folk artists with great hard work and patience for meeting the local needs.

Only some categories of the folk arts sustained in the long run of life which include architecture, painting, sculpture, music, dance etc.

Architecture: This was build with a motto of shelter and accommodation facility for the human beings. Some of the oldest wonderful architectural dwelling forms are ‘trullo’ of Puglia in Italy, stone arch of ‘Greek islands’, churches of Scandinavia etc. Remarkable features of these constructions were the materials used and its decorative art works.

Painting: Portraits were made using several things such as oil, pastel, watercolor, cotton fabric, embroidery etc. Most of the paintings were found in the churches and chapels.

Sculpture: Decorations applied to several objects were found in the grave stones and religious stones. Sculptures were produced from wood, stone, pottery etc.

Folk music: Oral transmissions of ancient music conveyed so many events of the historic times. Instruments used for producing music included bone whistles, wooden trumpets, leaves, flutes with finger holes etc.

Folk dance: If we check the folk dances of different localities, then it would be clear that there is no common figure, function or style in the dance forms. Each folk dance form had some distinguishing feature from another. It was represented in a joyful way to preserve the legacy and ethnicity.

Religious arts and festival arts: The images found from the churches and wayside shrines clearly indicate the presence of religious rituals. Festival arts were conducted during some occasions such as sowing and reaping. It was because they worshipped the supernatural forces and believed in their power.

Folklore: It is the literature studies present in the folk arts which include poems, myths, dramas, rituals, proverbs, etc. Studies in folk art literature began in 19th century with an intention to adopt elements from folk art culture into modern traditions.

The Folk Art Society of America (FASA) was established in 1987 with a mission of supporting and preserving the ancient folk arts. It is well proven from the above data that, whatever the time is, arts was always a way to express the love and gratitude. It was a perfect way to express the personality and culture of a specific group of people.

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