ERIC Number: ED363522
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Myth, Metaphors, and Meaning.
Simpson, Judith W.
In post-medieval times, art became sacrosanct rather than special as it had been regarded in previous cultures. This notion still drives art education and prevents the inclusion of entire cultures in contemporary curricula in art education. The myths that any society lives with, whether religious, political, or economic, are embedded in that culture's artifacts. Cultures are comprised of messages that people send back and forth among themselves about the nature of reality. In ancient cultures visual messages, stylistic content, and themes that informed the artifacts were understood by all members of the society from which they were produced. The realization that visual forms allude to, or imply meaning beyond their literal association, leads to metaphorical interpretation. Visual metaphors are nonverbal, symbolic, and conceptual. The capability to decipher the complexity in layers of meaning and the ability to interpret symbols are distinctly human traits. Symbolic systems are mythic, metaphorical, and metaphysical in meaning. Art is a vehicle through which these meanings often are conveyed. Today there is a total disregard of the idea that anthropologically art must be viewed as an aspect of a culture, any culture in which it is produced. Broadening the definition of art validates the visual richness of expression found in preliterate societies and those formerly classified as "primitive," thus validating the existence of those students whose heritage is grounded in other than European culture. All aspects of cultures must be examined as the context in which art is produced. (DK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the United States Society for Education through Art (Columbus, OH, September 14-16, 1991).