Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems

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Indigenous African art and healing: forgotten memories, planting memories of tomorrow

P P Ntuli


This paper seeks to situate art, particularly sculpture, within the framework of emotional, mental and psychic healing, and argues that like a priest or a healer an artist is called into “Being”. The paper attempts to paint a picture of the broad strokes of healing practice across Africa, touching on the significance of art in rituals, spirit possession and initiation. The inter-connectedness of individual and community healing is described and the paper concludes by arguing that the privileging of rational intelligence (IQ) over emotional and spiritual intelligences (EQ and SQ) has deprived art of its principle role of healing at the societal, communal and individual levels.

Keywords: African art, healing, rational intelligence, emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence.

AJOL African Journals Online