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Culture is corresponding with all the gained customs and traditions, along with guidance received from parents to shape the present and future personal character. Culture is the sum total of gained traditions, customs, and experience of the individual during his life. Therefore, the definition of culture requires more focus on various aspects and attitudes of the individual's history. Hence, the issue is how to discover certain different themes between these various attitudes in defining culture.
In brief, culture is a completely gained experiences thorough life, such traditions, customs, religious principles, guidance from parents, understanding all shapes of arts and music, to be such as a basket including all positive or negative meanings encountered within daily interactions with others.
In 20th Century, culture definition focused on the idea of American anthropology, which mentioned that the term "culture" referred to two basic meanings, the distinct methods that individuals are living in various parts of the world and the evolved human capacity to be able to represent and classify many experiences with symbols.
This definition is acceptable, since it includes many wide concepts, while this definition is looking at them via individuals' interaction with them. In other words, while individuals can send and receive many issues along with cultural meaning, they can shape certain culture of their own (Heinrichs, 2010).
When the matter is related with an artistic expression of one contemporary culture, it must put into consideration specific ideas about its contents and the targeted purposes of them.
Actually, for some, contemporary culture is seen as a place that displays pre-historic items including fossils of pre-historic animals. As a critical theme, which must be considered deeply, the concerned observer must consider that for others it is seen as a platform that displays art and craft items. Such art and craft items may span over centuries in the past and may have the contemporary features.
Yet, the ambit of the contemporary culture encompasses anything and everything that is available on the planet earth. Then there are the modern concepts of virtual museum that is not physically touchable, and yet could be among the greatest on the earth providing the concerned public with millions of items to view.
This paper articulates one of the contemporary cultures with an in-depth analysis, focusing on many involved texts and graphics as well. Conclusion is provided, in order to summarize the details of the paper, and a works cited page is enclosed.
1- Stolen Vigango History
Critically enough, one should realize that some years ago, the Vigango, which is considered one of the ancestral memorial statues made by peoples of Mijikenda, Kenya, had been stolen and sold abroad to arts' merchandises (Richards, 2000).
The matter deserves to mention that preciously enough, in 2007, the National Museums of Kenya returned two of vigangoes found in between two American museums' collections to their original family in one of rural villages of Kenya. Yet, their return to motherland had been accompanied with certain festivals and celebration as a reflection of pleasure and joy of the repatriation.
2- Vigango Significance
Initially, before concentrating on the significance of Vigango, one should understand the symbolism of African peoples. No doubt that the Anthropology focuses on the multi-traditions and customs of Africans, especially the reflection of their arts.
Hence, the matter needs to clarify that the art of African peoples can include most diverse available legacies, especially on the earth. Moreover, even though there are many casual observers who tend to focus on certain generalization of the art of Africans, this unique continent can include various civilizations, societies that each of them has its unique visual particular culture. Moreover, in spite of the fact that diversity is existed widely among African peoples, there may be certain unifying artistic styles, especially when regarding total visual culture from Africa continent.
The art in Africa reflects many various themes of symbolism, which can express the feelings, attitudes, customs, and traditions of each tribe or society based on Africa. As a fact, the two pieces of Vigango have their own symbolism.
They are wooden memorial statutes, which have been carved and erected by the peoples of Mijikenda living in the Northern east part of Africa in order to incarnate the deceased members of Gohu's spirits.
They have been considered such sacred things by those northern Mijikenda peoples and the Giriama as well. One the other hand, critically enough, certain keen should be directed to the theme that the vigango looked like effigies humans, while they were placed vertically as a symbol of honoring the dead. They were standing until they decomposed naturally (Wolfe, 1986).
3- Cultural Issues
According to the point of view of Anthropology, the people of Mijikenda are the residents of the coastal regions of Kenya, while they are consisted of nine groups sharing similar history, language, and culture.
They are Digo, Duruma, Chonyi, Jibana, Jaume, Kambe, Ribe, Rabai, and Giriams. Islam and Christian are demonstrated there, but most of those tribes have their other spiritual traditions. On the other hand, their ancestors' spirits are playing an important role in their life. Generally, all those tribes have erected vigango as appease of the ancestors' spirits. Vigango consequently come from the group of Giriama (Wolfe, 1986).
In addition, one point should be indicated to, which is corresponding with the fact that there is a new focus on recovering the cultural heritage of Kenya. For more clarification, not only for the arts authorities in Kenya, but also for the completely beloved Kenyan people and respect of their ethnic groups, due to the fact of the importance of contemporary culture to all humanity. (Lupton, 1996).
4- Media Involved and More Vigango Repatriation
In fact, according to many observers who are ready to confirm their own themes, the media attention has raised great public realization of the devastating impact on local societies because of the widespread global marketing of the culture heritage of Africans (Richards, 2000). In addition, more advanced results were demonstrated in returning of more nine vigango from the American collectors of private African arts.
5- Current Obstacles
Despite the fact of those regulated successes, there are still huge numbers of vigango shown in foreign museums and at the hands of private collectors in the Europe, United States, and even Kenya. Moreover, the Kenyan concerned authorities are able to verify the availability of more than four hundred vigango in various museums abroad, but unfortunately, no actual information about certain families from whom those vigango were stolen.
5-1 Cross-Cultural Currents
From the above-mentioned texts, there will be many critical points that needed to be articulated, and which particularly are corresponded with the African culture. Hence, one main point needed to be clarified, which being involved with the fact that the cultural cross currents arising with interdisciplinary connections where the studies of some subject cross the boundaries of more than one disciplines (Guth, 2003).
There are many involved examples, which are combination of mathematics with arts, or literature with biology and music with chemistry. Where the ethnic or minority groups start responding well to the realm of knowledge base, especially the art and literature of any of the dominant groups, it creates cultural cross currents (Poyatos, 2001).
5-2 Trans-historical Connections
Getting involved with another important point, one should refer to the trans-historical connections cross the time barriers in history (Ball, 2004). In fact, when some ideas or concepts continues to remain valid throughout the concerned period without turning out to be outdated or obsolete, they are considered to be trans historical connections. This term can be used for such concepts that might have even been rediscovered having relevance in the contemporary society.
As it is so clear from discussing the recent topic, one can simply conclude that the contemporary culture involves three basic elements. To clarify the matter, one can find the excellent taste in humanities and fine arts, the integrated pattern of human belief, knowledge, conduct, which depends on the symbolism ideas along with social learning issues, and sets of shared goals, values, attitudes, and practices, which can characterize a nation, a group, or a community.
African culture can encompass and as well include all the involved cultures that existed in the Africa continent. Even though there is a basic split between the Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa that can be divided widely into various tribal cultures and ethnic, one can easily notice how wide these cultures and ethnic can be reflected in the African arts and customs too.
Hence, as well as clarified previously, the researcher would like to confirm that Vigango is considered one of the Kenyan cultures with in-depth roots of honoring past and ancestors. To sum up again, Vigango had been stolen in the past, but the concerned Kenyan authorities could repatriate many of them to satisfy the peoples' wish and enhance their respect of their own culture. Truly enough, in every society and culture, it can found several such components that have withstood the onslaught of time and have continued to be accepted widely. They depict the true colors of the trans-historical connections.
Again, concluding from the discussed topic, still more researches are needed, in order to get an in-depth analysis and understanding as well for the hidden customs and traditions of African peoples that can to great degree reflect the Anthropology's interest with the incredible meanings of culture and all the sub-headed cultural issues.