Melly Murphy and Enoch Godwin butt heads over various topics every Tuesday.
Melly Murphy and Enoch Godwin butt heads over various topics every Tuesday.
Photo Credit: Vee Lewis

Tackle Tuesday: Is using other cultures in art okay?


Art is something every culture on the planet has in common, each practicing their own unique art forms. The expression of these cultures is vital to the joy and continued practice of those peoples, with artworks or dances being used to fight against oppression. And while the use of cultural representations isn’t necessarily wrong, history has shown that more often than not the groups of people with the most power often twist and distort one’s culture for their own benefit. This is a practice that unfortunately was very common throughout history and can even still be seen today. One of the most popular yet overlooked examples can be found in the football team the Kansas City Chiefs whose name is covered in cultural appropriation of the native peoples even using an arrowhead as their team symbol. This goes to show that while celebrating the culture of diverse people across the globe is a beautiful thing, it’s best to educate yourself and learn before you do more harm than good.


There are many different forms of art, all are unique ways of expressing thoughts and emotions. To answer the question of whether is it okay to use cultures other than your own to express those thoughts I say nobody owns a culture. Those who made it made it and should not limit others from wanting to experiment with that culture in their art. While I can agree that taking advantage of that to make fun of a culture is not justified, I have found that this is very rare. Most of the time people of a certain culture (especially in the area where the culture originated) want people to celebrate their culture and adopt it so claims that this art is trumped.

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