Indigenous Non-Western Arts, Cultural Identity and Social Cohesion in New Social Settings

By Herman Jiesamfoek.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The arts are well-discussed features in Western academic writings. Little, however, has been said about the value or the role that the arts play in relation to cultural identity and social cohesion in non-Western societies such as the Surinamese Bush Negro society. Field study observations which I have undertaken in Suriname for over a decade suggest that the Surinamese Bush Negro people, in general, seem to have an unwavering sense of pride in their cultural heritage and strongly identify with their artistic and ceremonial village traditions. In this paper, I will look at a selection of art conceptions in Western society and how these relate to the art conceptions of the Surinamese Bush Negro people. This comparison will form a basis for looking into how these conceptions of the arts contribute to the formation of cultural identity and social cohesion outside the Surinamese village settings.

Keywords: Arts Conceptions, Cultural Identity, Social Cohesion, Indigenous Art, Non-Western Village Art Traditions

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.33-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 615.485KB).

Dr. Herman Jiesamfoek

Assistant Professor, School of Education, Arts Education, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Herman Jiesamfoek is Assistant Professor at Brooklyn College, City University New York. He earned his doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a Fine Arts painter and has danced professionally in various European ballet companies. From 2003 to 2007, he was Adjunct Assistant Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and from 2004 to 2007, Education Officer for the Arts at the New York City Department of Education. After completing a Master’s degree in Dance Education and during his doctoral studies of Art Education at Teachers College, Columbia University he carried out fieldwork among the Bush Negro people of Suriname. His research continues to center on the artistic practices and traditions of the Bush Negro people of Suriname.


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