A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Visual Culture and Its Influence on Elements of Folk Culture

Issue 43
  Visual Culture and Its Influence on Elements of Folk Culture


By Dr. Wala' Mohammed Mahmud


Visual culture plays an important role in enriching culture. By decoding images, their meanings and their indications, we were given a tremendous opportunity to re-form our human culture in a new and functional way. The image is a modern language that is one of the most important components of culture today. It represents our knowledge and thoughts, and technological innovation has developed into an industry with a large economic impact; images are not only a source of entertainment.


People live in communities and societies. A society is based on interaction and production. One of society’s primary characteristics is diversity. Every human being helps to create his society through effective and interactive giving and taking, this leads to the production of a specific culture. An individual comes to have a particular way of being within his ecological framework based on his mentality and his approach to communicating and interacting with others. It is important to note that there is a unique and close connection between visual culture and folk culture.


Throughout the ages, the image has served humanity in a variety of ways by illustrating subjects. It has specific indications, and may be used to present valuable data in a way that saves time and effort. Visual culture involves presenting information visually, so it can be used to simplify and present unclear information.


In the service of folk culture, the way in which images are perceived, and the meanings of the images and their symbols must be studied. By understanding these things, images’ content can be deciphered.


In this respect, a number of ways in which one can serve visual culture are recognized:


  • Visual culture can help to educate viewers and improve their awareness
  • The process of observation is important when viewing cultural images
  • Folk culture plays an important role in developing appreciation for visual culture
  • Folk arts should make the most of images


Visual culture can improve the understanding of folk culture. It is a response to real-life situations. Visual culture is part of the language; it includes symbols with different meanings and indications, so it represents a language that is decoded by the mind. Visual culture is a reflection of real-life cultural situations.


The image plays different roles in preserving art and expressing ideas. In a broader sense, images play the same role in preserving culture. By understanding the meanings, concepts and functions of images, we are better able to preserve, maintain, and develop folk arts in various forms.


By studying the arts produced by primitive peoples, we can determine that the aesthetic sense is innate to most people regardless of their level of understanding. Folk arts serve as a mirror for a society; they represent the past, present and future. By studying folk creations, we can preserve national identity.

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