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Visual culture is the study of cultural issues, art, history, images, material artifacts, timed video images or buildings which are presented to address a particular topic, communicate a message and which are addressed through sight.  Visual culture has been used in various ways by the community for instance for communication and mass media. In this case visual culture has been applied in advertisement posters, paintings, novels, and timed films all of which are perceived through sight (John A. Walker). To be able to understand this art better this essay will seek to demystify the term culture and community and to understand the ways in which our community use visual culture to establish and/or react against culture. In addition we will analyze our experiences with community and visual culture and explain how that equips us to have particular insight into the connections between the experiences. We will also seek to answer the following questions:

  1. What connections do I have to community?
  2. What connections do I have to visual culture?
  3. What significant experiences have related to either visual culture or community or both?
  4. What defines community?
  5. What qualifies as visual culture?  

According to (Kalman) culture may be defined as the way people live. It involves what people eat, the kind of clothing they wear, their language, stories or narratives associated with a certain community. Culture is also defined as the way people depict their imaginations through artwork, music, dances and celebrations. It is a phenomenon passed through generations hailing from the ancestors (Kalman). However, culture is dynamic. Some cultural aspects change from time to time depending on factors such as technological changes. On the other hand the term community refers to a place where a group of people dwells, correlates and work as a team specific goals. Having understood the meaning of both culture and community, we then will ask ourselves:

What connections do I have to community?

A community is a place where people stay and work together. Therefore we appreciate the fact that everyone belong to a community. There are various through an individual may belong to a community. For instance one may belong to a particular community by virtual of being born and dwells in that community. In this case the person’s connections with the community are through birth. On the other hand, an individual could be working in a particular thus belonging to that community and hence in this case his connection to that community will be work related and participates in the realization of that community’s objectives. People sharing common believes also may be said to belong to a community. The fact that they share common believes is a reflection of similar objectives.

What connections do I have to visual culture?

Visual culture is the study of cultural issues, art, history, images, material artifacts, timed video images or buildings which are presented to address a particular topic, communicate a message and which are addressed through sight. Being part of a community, I also share it cultural practices and dissipates all of my community’s cultural aspects. In doing this I put into practice numerous aspect of visual culture. For instance, I usually communicate through mass media which involves timed images such videos capturing some of my community’s cultural aspects such as dances which visually depict community cultural values. Another way I contribute to visual culture by use images such drawing and paintings and other features of art to educate and display my cultural values. This may be realized through the use of poster animation, carvings and models.  Building or architectural designs also forms part of a community’s culture and therefore they facilitate the understanding of a community’s visual culture.

What significant experiences have related to either visual culture or community or both?

            Basically, visual culture is directly or indirectly related to the community because all the communities have those aspects of visual culture they employ in their cultural values and beliefs. For instance it is always possible to associate a particular mode of dressing to a specific community based on their culture or community believes. For example a suit will be considered by many communities to be a proper dressing style for official duties. In addition, other aspect of visual culture like dances may be associated with a particular community. Meaning it is possible tell that this dance belong to a particular community based on their cultural values or the art dancing and this also shows how visual culture may be related to a community. Material and artifacts are also aspects of visual culture and may be associated to a particular community. For instance, it is always possible to associate a carving or a basket to a particular community basing the item to the history of origin of such an item. This is linking visual culture directly to the community. Images or even paintings may also be considered as important components of depicting visual culture. Different communities use images or paintings among others features of art to communicate a message or send warning or even enlighten the community on particular issues affecting them. For instance drawings and painting may be used to communicate about dangers of drug abuse, effect of conflict within the community, warning the community about dangerous areas or as signs such as road signs.

History also forms a contribution in visual culture. The visual culture experienced in a given community is directly related to historical cultural belief of that community. The culture is sometimes inherited from ancestors and different aspects of visual culture realized in a community may be directly linked to their historical background. This may be determined by historical place of origin, geographical locations or any other environmental factors forcing the community to adapt a particular aspect of visual culture. For instance the communities who live along the coast will employ some aspects of visual culture that are different from the communities that live in the highlands. This difference may be associated with environmental issues, climatic conditions among others and their behaviors are dictated by their historical orientation.

Conclusion

What qualifies as visual culture?

As defined above visual culture is the study of cultural issues, art, history, images, material artifacts, timed video images or buildings which are presented to address a particular topic, communicate a message and which are addressed through sight. So when a given community dissipates their cultural values through visual aspects such as using images to communicate, dances to enlighten the community, narrating stories, using decors or back drops in their dramas or plays, animating various aspects of their culture through creating timed films or videos. Painting pictures or posters that relates to their historical cultural background or use any other feature of art that may be perceived through sight. All these among others qualify as components that may be used in depicting visual art. In conclusion this essay sought to demystify visual culture by first defining culture and community and how the two terms are related. In addition, the essay was able to explain the connections of visual culture to the community and finally clearly depicted what qualifies a visual culture.  

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