New Trends in Contemporary Art

General  January 25, 2023

Contemporary Art

Over the past few years, many new trends have appeared in the art that reflect the course and changes of modern culture, people’s lives, and new trends in the philosophy of life. In this article, we will talk about the contemporary art movements that were born in the 20 century in the struggle for independence and political conflicts. Stridentism, negritude, anthropophagy, and other trends. And if you want to try some more extreme entertainment – you can find them at

Bengali School (India and Bangladesh, the 1900s)

In 1909, the cultural theorist Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877–1947) wrote: “The weakness of our national movement is that we do not love India – instead we love England, we like her comfortable bourgeois prosperity. One that can be established in our country too, if we learn enough sciences and forget enough arts, then we can compete with Europe.

His idea of enslaving India is caused by political conflicts in the Indian province of Bengal. In the late 1800s, the struggle for the independence of the region was especially intensified. At the epicenter of the anti-imperialist controversy were artists from the School of Art in Calcutta. The artists propagated the mysticism of modern art, which relied on Eastern techniques and completely rejected the influence of the West.

The Bengali school was led by Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951), nephew of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), a Renaissance poet and thinker. Tagore’s pan-Asian worldview drew inspiration from the art of the larger continents, in particular from the painting of Japan. The Japanese worked with ink, and the adoption of this technique created the very amazing quality of the drawings of the Bengali school. “Endless Journey” by Abdur Rahman Chuhtai and “Chinese Girl” from the collection of Jane and Quito de Boer is an examples of the fusion of different techniques of the East.

According to Nishad Avari, head of sales at Contemporary South Asian Art, the Bengali School “had a profound effect on the art of South Asia”, especially on Nandalal Bose (1882-1966), whose portrayal of Gandhi became decisive for the image of the anti-colonization fighter – humble, but a determined servant of the people.

Artists who worked later and were inspired by the symbolism of the Bengal school ranked the Indian modernist Ganesh Pine as a member of the Bengal school.

Stridentism, Mexico, 1920s

One December night in 1921, a manifesto was written on the walls of houses in Mexico City. Its creator is the young revolutionary poet Manuel Maples Arce (1900-1981). His rhetoric was so provocative that it seemed to boil with the seething energy of victory. The manifesto urged the intellectuals of Mexico to forget the past and start living in the present day. “Death to Father Hidalgo, down with San Rafael and San Lazaro!” – exclaimed the poet, referring to the great hero of the struggle for the independence of Mexico and two revered saints. The manifesto also quotes a futuristic text by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944): “A car in motion is much more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.”

Such was the birth of Stridentism, a literary and artistic movement that combined European modernist currents (such as Futurism) with Mexican Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The group was close to left-wing views: the artists participated in the workers’ strikes, but, unlike Diego Rivera and the muralists, they did not seek to romanticize the Mexican Revolution. Instead, the Stridentists were ardent reformers who drew inspiration from folklore and pre-Columbian art. The Stridentists lived in the commune of Veracruz, where the Horizonte magazine was published. In 1927, the artists’ commune was attacked and the movement ceased to exist.

Anthropophagy, Brazil, 1920-the 30s

In 1928, the poet Oswald de Andrade (1890–1954) attempted to bring Brazilian society out of cultural lethargy. He did this with the help of a provocative ideology, which he called anthropophagy (literally, “cannibalism”). Arguing that Brazil’s greatest strength lies in “devouring” its colonizers, de Andrade argued that Brazil must absorb the culture of Europe on its way to the uniqueness of Brazilian modernism.

Andrade’s wife, Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973), was one of the leading artists of the movement. She studied in Paris, taking lessons from the French modernist Fernand Leger (1881-1955) – then du Amaral and discovered the tendency of the Parisian avant-garde to anarchy. These ideas were incorporated into an anthropophagy aesthetic characterized by industrial primitivism—depicting flat cityscapes and buildings—with bold colors and surreal, dream-like imagery.

Anthropophagy had a huge impact on many artists, especially the Tropicalists who emerged in Brazil in the late 1950s.

Negritude, France, 1930s

Negritude, France, 1930s

The influential art group Negritude was born in Paris. Its creators are poets from the Parisian African diaspora: Aimé Cesar (1913–2008), Leon Damas (1912–78) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001). They began publishing a student magazine, LÉtudiant Noir (Black Student), the first issue of which was published in March 1935. It contains Sezer’s strong, caustic essay in response to Western readings of African culture and literature.

In the 1920s, interest in the culture of the diaspora became very fashionable in Paris. European avant-garde artists carefully studied and assimilated African music and dance into their art, thus developing new forms of modernism. And Negritude turned this process on its head: the artists declared that Africa and its numerous diasporas were the true cradle of surrealism, and began to develop their own surrealistic technique. Among them were Ben Enwonwu (1917-94), Wifredo Lam (1902-82), and Ronald Moody (1900-84).

During the Second World War, many Negritude participants left Europe, wanting to carry the concept of movement to the world. Cesar went to the island of Martinique, where he began to publish the magazine “Négritude”. Leopold Sedar Senghor – to Senegal: there he became president, and then launched a nationwide program to promote the ideas of Negritude in art schools. His writings, as well as the poetry of Damas and Cesar, inspired many revolutionaries – for example, the political leader Amilcar Cabral.

Egyptian Surrealism, Egypt, the 1940s

Art and Liberty is a surrealist group that originated in Cairo in the mid-1930s. In 1937, the Long Live Degenerate Art manifesto was published, expressing the group’s agreement with the persecution of the avant-garde in Nazi Germany.

Founded by the revolutionary Egyptian poet George Gheney (1914-1973), the author of a debate about the autocratic nature of Egyptian culture, Art and Freedom highlighted the problem of inequality in Egyptian society. Artists depicted brutality – mutilated, dismembered bodies – to expose the rotten Egyptian society, and later – to express the full horror of the Second World War.

Egyptian surrealists did not accept the order, logic, and conventional beauty. At first, the artists relied on the European model of surrealism, represented by the poet André Breton (1896-1966) and the photographer Lee Miller (1907-77), but later developed their own unique style – subjective realism, a style free from formal frames and designations of the depicted object.

The progressive ideology of “Art and Freedom” has left its mark on the work of many artists and poets, including the paintings of the British artist Victor Musgrave, as well as the works of the photographer Ida Kar.

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