Culture can be defined as how people from different parts of the world interact with one another, the languages they use to communicate, and the items they use in their day-to-day lives. Several methods can be used to distinguish one culture from another. For an artist, all these elements are essential. The slightest cultural difference can make artists start viewing things in a completely different light. The following factors can help identify the most important aspects of a culture.
Symbols and Language
The most noticeable element of every culture is the language it uses to communicate. There are thousands of languages spoken all over the world. Most of the time, the words used are entirely foreign to anyone who does not belong to that particular culture. Sometimes, the terms used are the same, but they carry different meanings. Symbols go hand-in-hand with language. It is important to note that a symbol that may be acceptable in one region could be considered offensive in another region.
Norms and Beliefs
Norms refer to the standards set by a particular community to regulate people’s behaviour. In different places, rules may differ between male and female members of the community. Norms can be written or unwritten. Norms that are written down can be described as the ‘laws of the land’. Unwritten norms, meanwhile, concern those things considered abnormal or unnatural. Beliefs, too, differ from one culture to another.
Artifacts are the various materials used by members of a society. These materials include items such as kitchenware, furniture, materials used to make clothing, and even building materials. Things that may be seen as very important in one community may not have the same value to those from another culture. Knowing which things are valued the most in a particular culture helps artists identify what aspects of that culture they should focus on in their artwork.