UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Ong, Siew Yong
Institute: 
National Institute of Education
Year of completion: 
2003
Country: 
Singapore
Country of Research Data: 
Singapore
Language: 
English
Comments: 

An Academic Exercise submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for Bachelor of Arts (Hons)

Abstract: 

This study examines the current meanings of the word craft, through an investigation on art works and objects which have been categorised as Craft. The development of this word to its current usage today, is first traced out in an Eurocentric historical overview where ideas and perceptions about art and about craft objects are discussed. In Eurocentric terms, craft objects are perceived as a lower form of art because these objects are usable or functional. It is argued that the use of this word to describe Southeast Asian art should be reassessed because of different cultural attitudes towards art. The popular usage of the term Craft to describe tourist souvenirs has also affected perception and status of traditional Southeast Asian art. At the same time, this study reveal a dominating Eurocentric concept about art and craft objects in Southeast Asia today. This concept has influenced museum culture of display and artists' attitudes and approaches towards art and craft objects.

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