AFRICAN HOMAGE

Art, Culture & Traditions

Lele Mask collection African Homage

A physical encounter with a piece of art touching you, is always a strong emotional feeling.
But when it occurs, It will be in a particular context: a museum, a private collection, a gallery.

In all cases, the object, the piece of art, "calls" you for some personal reason which we might regard as a form of fascination.
In all cases, it is "standing alone" separated from its original context, mainly from all the material and human environment that gave it birth.

The western world has a long history of musea, originally invented by the Romans who collected Greek antiques (yes, already).

Later, much later, during the middle ages, the "cabinets de curiosités" appear, in which one could discover, admire, be questioned, by bizarre, strange, exotic, mysterious objects.
Those cabinets became musea with the Renaissance, gathering, collecting works of art, paintings, sculptures, whether antique or contemporary.

Occidental arts were conceived as scenes, representations, evocations, which were self-sufficent.

When "primitive" arts became accepted, collections were elaborated and, following, museum exhibitions in which the objects were, and still are, shown departed from their context, their original environment.

It is essential, regarding African arts, to grasp at least a notion of the very rich surroundings, ambience, atmosphere, community, that cannot be separated from any specific object.

This precious video shows how a mask becomes live as compared with (the same) mask standing still in a museum.

Some time ago, I was talking with a fine, well educated, young lady from Senegal, about
the Kankouran.
On certain days, the Kankourans run the streets, harmlessly scaring the people, covered in fiber costumes, faces hidden, brandishing machetes, shooting loudly.
She was, as most people, scared by them, at the same time knowing there was no danger, yet very scared.
So, I told her, well, you know those are dancers, don’t you?

Her answer was: "yes, some of them are…"

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Peter Neibert January 3, 2015, 21:40

    I follow Africanhomage.com closely on Twitter because the postings always include at least one exotic photograph and a hotlink to the source, usually with detailed commentary. Can’t get enough of it.

    • Addé January 4, 2015, 13:38

      Thank you so much, Peter! Comments like yours are a real reward and a motivation to carry on!

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