Tribalism and Its Impact on Art and Creativity

It may not seem like the most obvious stimulus for artistic expression, but tribalism has an undeniable influence on art and creativity. Without a doubt, tribalism encourages human creativity, and we can enrich our lives by adopting certain tribal and cultural values.

Tribes mostly invite the notion of division and differences. Where I was born in Kenya, it is a real negative to be tribalistic. But tribes have a different purpose for a designer like me, because it forces human creativity to happen. To be a tribe, you need symbols and practices, such as totems, music, dance, rituals, costumes, food, etc., to define your people. The more of these you have, the stronger the perception of the tribe will be.

I have spent most of my life amongst other tribes. By this, I mean amidst different cultures and peoples.  I discovered the joy of learning their idiosyncrasies and ways of life, and admiring their creativity. I adopted many characteristics from the different tribes into my own life.  I learnt to adore food from the Italians and got my sense of showing national pride from the French; I feel very proud when our sportsmen and women win marathons and break records. I admire how the Irish acknowledge each other with warmth just because they are Irish, so I try to do the same when I encounter a compatriot in an unlikely setting. Often, I’ll take advantage of our shared heritage in a bid to relate to them even more.

I suspect that tribes can also learn from each other. They can become stronger forces for good, strengthen their influence, attract new members, and respond to the basic human need for belonging – something that is unlikely to ever leave our nature.

Designers like me can continue to enjoy the constant stream of new humanity-driven creativity, brought about by the changing dynamics of tribes – especially those that are newly formed or evolving into the modern age. On a personal level, I can continue adopting new ways of doing things and learning from these wonderful groups of people. Crucially, though, I can now provide a meaningful platform to showcase such inspiring art and creativity through The Artistry gallery and storytelling space.

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