ERIC Number: ED442613
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Humour and Cultural Perspectives.
Zuk, Bill; Dalton, Robert
Approximately 5,000 works by Native artists across North America were examined to identify images that appeared to contain elements of humor. Several distinctive categories of humor in Native art were revealed: (1) whimsy (a sense of sheer fun or spontaneous amusement); (2) satire, ranging from gentle teasing to biting ridicule; (3) themes involving tricksters or fools; and (4) parody, which may be used to expose racial bias or insensitivity. In indigenous Arctic societies, climatic conditions are harsh, and humor makes life more bearable and eventful. Examples are given of whimsical humor in works by Arctic artists. Examples of satirical humor draw on chance connections across languages and cultures, poke fun at anthropologists, and use dark humor to illuminate painful incidents in Native history. Examples of narrative trickery and foolery include portrayals of Raven in Northwest Coast art and of the endlessly adaptable Coyote in the U.S. Southwest. Parody is used in examples of performance art to deal with cultural and racial stereotypes. Further research may focus on the cultural and social aspects of Native art styles. Humor is an effective means for marginalized groups to educate others, raising awareness of their perspectives on important issues via memorable and persuasive artwork. Art is vital to multicultural education, and humorous art can help students to enjoy and understand cultures different from their own. (Contains 22 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Culture, American Indians, Art Expression, Canada Natives, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Influences, Foreign Countries, Humor, Multicultural Education, Visual Arts
Full text at Web site: http://www.educ.uvic.ca/connections.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A