Afrocentric Artistry

 

 

Yoruba-Olumeye-(Kneeling-Female-Offering-Bowl),-Nigeria---

Yoruba Olumeye (Kneeling Female Offering Bowl)

Nigeria

 

 

Pot With-four-handles,-earthenware-with-applied-sculptural-elements,-possibly-Igbo-people,-Nigeria--ca

 Earthenware pot with four handles,with applied sculptural elements, possibly Igbo people

Nigeria  ca. 1900-24

 

African art motives

 

In many parts of Africa there is still a vital interaction that occurs between the people, their pottery and arts, and the spirit world. Originally, all across Africa, their ceremonial art had a purpose – attracting blessings for good harvests, bringing fertility, warding off disease along with natural calamities and evil spirits and lso helping make social decisions and reaching judgments. The finished products were usually subjected to a ritualistic process to raise its presence and power. Their creative instincts are still a force in producing works that reinforce spiritual concepts ranging from the liturgical art of Ethiopia to representations of the Dogon creation myths and countless other deities of worship like goddess icons of Mama Wati. Some of the most spectacular pieces are produced specifically to be presented on their shrines. While changes in religious beliefs and practices has led to the abandonment of some art and pottery forms and traditions, in other places the ritual significance of pots and art objects still endures. These pieces were formerly placed on altars with each vessel having a very specific symbolic meaning and upholding a cohesive framework for their social and spiritual beliefs. With the unveiling of more ancient pots and artifacts through archaeology and deeper interaction in Africa, the social and mystical meanings of individual pieces are being discovered. This has been aided by gleaning knowledge about the women and men who created them and the social, economic, and spiritual contexts from which they were conceived, created, and used.

 

 

Africa---Mask-from-the-Ligbi-culture

African Ligbi culture mask

 

 

The African sculptural human forms aren’t always proportional and can exaggerate specific bodily characteristics to emphasize or draw attention to a particular aspect. The heads are quite often larger than the body with wide lips and geometrically simplified shapes and abstract figural forms being common. The 15th century Benin statues were graceful with tall and slender proportions and they liked to make bronze figures of their kings ( Onis) which were much more naturalistic in style.

Silvia Forni’s work with potters in several communities in Cameroon led her to the conclusion that from birth to death and beyond, pots are important agents in their social life. Lisa Aronson’s research into Vodun arts in Ghana revealed that the methods employed for building their everyday and ritual (Vodun) pots, can be understood as a visualization of the spiritual world, especially when seen in concert with the iconographic embellishment of the vessels. The Shona artists of Zimbabwe believe their art comes from deep within and that they are connected to a Pan African cosmology. Other African artists usually share a similar trait, their works reflecting a freedom and spontaneity typical of artistry rich in spirit.
Increased access to modern conveniences and utilitarian products have changed the demand for pottery in some African locations while other places are still thriving. Nigeria and west-central Cameroon are still pottery-rich areas while the modern Yoruba are prolific potters with origins that reach back to exquisite vessels and sculptures from their ancient past. They are still producing a diverse array of vessels that includes water containers, storage pots, ritual vessels and decorative arts. It is not uncommon to witness pottery and art objects being created with the exact techniques that have been employed for centuries. ( see here ).

Michael Cardew gave an excellent account of an African artist at work with his impressions of Lady Kwali manipulating clay:

“To watch Ladi Kwali building her pots by hand is an enlightening experience, quite as stimulating as one’s first sight of a good thrower at work. You realize with surprise that it is not necessary to have a potter’s wheel in order to achieve pots which have the appearance of perfect symmetry. One also experiences … the exhilaration of watching a craftsman who seems to be doing the impossible and to be always on the brink of disaster, yet is entirely unafraid, and entirely confident with the confidence that comes from a lifetime of devotion to the craft. Crowning all this, her personal charm radiates all her art and everything she does and seems to be the epitome of the deep-seated culture of Africa.”

 

 

Bronze weight from Baule region for gold

A bronze figural weight used for weighing gold dust used as a currency in the Baule region

 

 

 

Dan-Tribe,-Ivory-Coast,--National-Geographic,-July-1982,--Michael-and-Aubine-Kirtley

‘Dan Tribe’, Ivory Coast,  National Geographic, July 1982,  Michael and Aubine Kirtley

 

 

 

 

African-Baule-Mblo-mask-from-Cote-D'Ivoire-(via-Ethnic-hut)

Baule Mblo mask from Cote D’Ivoire, Africa

 

 

 

EthiopieeisjeMG_Omo-Valley-columbusmagazine.nl

Ethiopian Omo Valley face art

columbusmagazine.nl

 

 

 

African-Mask-from-the-Dan-people-of-Ivory-Coast-or-Liberia-Wood,-fiber,-metal--ca

African Mask from the Dan people of Ivory Coast or Liberia

Wood, fiber, metal ca. prior to 1976

 

 

Africa-Vessel-from-Chad--20th-century

Water Vessel from Chad, Africa

20th century

 

 

Kenya_Arts_Diary_Simon-Muriithi-Old-Time-Friend Simutiithi@yahoo.com

‘Old Time Friend’ –  Simon Muriithi

Kenya Arts Diary

 

 

 

Ancestor-figure---Tikar,-Cameroon

Carved wood ancestral sculpture

Tikar, Cameroon

 

 

 

Djenne-equestrian-figure,-Mali,-c

 

Djenne equestrian figure, Mali

c. 13th-16th century (terracotta)

 

 

 

African-Mask-from-the-Tikar-tribe-of-Cameroon-17inches-high-Genuineafrica-com

An African Mask from the Tikar tribe of Cameroon-17inches-high

Genuineafrica.com

 

 

 

African-mask-woman holding a child- photo by David Paul Carr

“Baba Ichanga” wearing traditional gelede mask and holding a baby Sanga village, Ketou, Benin

photo © David Paul Carr

 

 

 

Anthropomorphic jar Mangbetu-vessel-in-the-form-of-a-woman---Democratic-Republic-of-the-Congo-19th-20th-century - Met, NY

Mangbetu anthropomorphic jar / vessel in the form of a woman—Democratic Republic of  Congo-19th-20th century – Met, NY

 

 

 

Vessel-for-storing-grain-Bamileke - Cameroon

Tri legged grain storage ceramic pot – Bamileke, Cameroon

 

 

 

 

Baluba-Mask-African-Mask-Art

Baluba round Mask

 

 

Anthropomorphic-cup-from-the-Kuba-people-of-DR-Congo--Wood

Wooden anthropomorphic cup from the Kuba people of DR Congo, Africa

 

 

 

A-vessel-from-the-Mambila-peoples-~-Nigeria,-Cameroon

A ceramic vessel from the Mambila peoples – Nigeria, Cameroon

 

 

African Baule-Mask---Ivory-Coast---Moon-Mask

African Baule Moon Mask—Ivory Coast

 

 

 

Ishmael-Chitiyo Reflection 39cmh

Shona abstract sculpture – ‘Reflection’ by Ishmael Chitiyo, Zinbabwe

Height – 39cm

 

 

 

Bottle,-Earlymid-20th-centuryNgbandiCongo

Bottle – Ngbandi Congo

Early mid-20th-century

 

 

 

Cameroon-black-wood-and-brass-Tikar-mask

Tikar-mask in black wood and brass

Cameroon

 

 

 

Cavalier-Bini-Edo---Bronze-du-Bénin a man riding his horse

Cavalier Bini Edo

 

 

 

Chief-holding-a-sanza,-a-musical-instrument-of-the-ideophone-family,-with-metal-keys-and-gourd-resonator

Chokwe Chief holding a sanza, a musical instrument of the ideophone family, with metal keys and gourd resonator.

20th century

photo: Werner Foreman

 

 

 

DSC_04851

Teme Bundu coming of age ritual mask

Serre Leone

 

 

 

contemporary-african-american-artists---Charles-Searles

Charles Searles

 

 

 

Ebony-Wood,-African-Bust,-African-Carved-Wood,-Tribal-Decor,-BESMO,-Kenya,

Carved ebony female bust

Besmo, Kenya

 

 

 

Fang-Mask,-Gabon Africa - tall elegant mask

Fang mask – Gabon

 

 

 

Head-with-crown,-14th---early-15th-century-copper-alloy

African female head with crown – copper alloy

 

 

 

Helmet-Mask-(Nyachi)-from-the-Kuba-people-(Kete-group)-from-the-Sankuru-River-region-of-the-DR-Congo--Wood,-pigment,-copper-alloy-ca

Helmet Mask (Nyachi) from the Kuba people (Kete group) from the Sankuru River region of the DR Congo Wood, pigment, copper alloy

ca. 19th – 20th century – Met, NY

 

 

 

John-(Silver)-Mbugua--painting

John (Silver) Mbugua

 

 

 

Ivory-Coast-tunnel-vision

Tunnel vision – Ivory Coast, Africa

1947

 

 

Janus-mask-from-the-Markha-people-of-Mali

Janus mask from the Markha people of Mali

 

 

 

African abstract painting by Kamal-Shah,-born-in-Nairobi

Kamal Shah

Nairobi, Kenya

 

 

 

Mohammed-Ahmed-Abdalla-1935-Sudan

Porcelainous stoneware vessel – Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla

1990’s

 

 

 

Ladi-Kwali-a-large-Water-Pot,-circa-1960-Height-40.6cm-(16in

Ladi Kwali – large Water Pot

circa 1960  — Height 40.6cm-16 inches

 

 

 

Zulu-earthenware pot with geometric motifs

Zulu earthenware pot

 

 

 

Malangatana-Valente-Ngwenya-was-a-Mozambican-painter

Malangatana

Malangatana Valente Ngwenya was a Mozambican painter

 

 

 

 

Mask-of-the-'mblo'-group-from-the-Baule-people-of-the-Ivory-Coast

Mask of the ‘mblo’ group from the Baule people of the Ivory Coast

 

 

 

 

Mohammed-Ahmed-Abdalla-1935 Sudan

Sudanese potter – Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla

1991

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

 

 

moses-muigai-at-nnm

Moses Muigai

 

 

 

OLD-KUBA-MASK---ARTENEGRO-Gallery

Old Kuba mask

Artenegro Gallery

 

 

NEJA2047--PAUL-LEWIN----Deviant-Art contemporary art

NEJA2047 ( Paul Lewin)

Deviantart

 

 

Peter-Gwisa Shona sculpture

Zimbabwean sculptor – Peter Gwisa

 

 

 

Oshun painting

Oshun deity of Ifá and Yoruba

 

 

RARE-PENDE-CEREMONIAL-DOUBLE-CUP---ARTENEGRO

Double ceremonial cup – Penne, Africa

 

 

 

Joe-Joseph---Lovers---lemon-opal-h78cm

‘Lovers’ – Joe Joseph

Zimbabwe shona

 

 

 

SONGYE-TWO-HEADED-FIGURE---Congo-Republic

Songye two headed wooden figure sculpture

Congo Republic

 

 

 

Kenya_Arts_Diary_2011-Tabitha-Wathuku---Angel-Of-Joy---Kenya

‘Angel Of Joy’ – Tabitha Wathuku, Kenya

Kenya Arts Diary 2011

 

 

 

Ethiopie Jump Vrouwen_Omo-Valley

Costume preparation – Omo Valley, Ethiopia

 

 

MAGDALENE-ODUNDO-1983 Carbonised-and-burnished-terracotta

 Carbonised and burnished coil built terracotta pot – Magdalena Odundo

 

 

 

 

Africa--Vessel.-Nupe-people.-ca.-1901---1989

Geometrical decorated sgraffito vessel – Nupe people, Africa

 

 

 

National-Museum-of-African-Art-Mohammed-Ahmed-Abdalla

Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla

Early in his career Abdalla drew from his knowledge of ancient Sudanese practices as well as his training in England to design utilitarian pots with delicate glazes. His later forms, with which this example belongs, are the result of bold experiments with new slips and surface treatments. This porcelaneous stoneware form was coiled, smoothed and coated with a series of glazes when it was leather hard. After the glazes dried, the pot was fired in an electric kiln. To produce the reptilian surface it was then dipped in a magnesium slip and fired again.

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

 

 

 

Statue-Calao-Senoufo---Côte-d'Ivoire Found-on-galerie-art-africain

Ibis? bird sculpture – Calao Senoufo

 

 

 

The Dick Jemison Tribal Art Collection - Birmingham Museum of Art

African ceramic pot from the Dick Jemison Tribal Art Collection

Birmingham Museum of Art

 

 

 

Yaure,-IVORY-COAST-MASK

Yaure Ivory Coast mask

 

 

 

The End of eating Everything : animated video by Wangechi Mutu

Image from The End of eating Everything : animated video by Wangechi Mutu – 2013

 

 

 

YORUBA-BOWL-AND-COVER---45cm-dia

Yoruba covered bowl

 

 

 

Anang-artist,-Nigeria---Mama-Wati-figurine-Photograph-by-Franko-Khoury

Anang artist, Nigeria—Mama Wati figurine

Mami Wata (Mother Water), is a water spirit recognized by peoples throughout Africa and the African diaspora, reflected in masks and figures that bear her likeness.

Photograph by Franko Khoury

 

 

Ceramic-Vessel,-1997-Magdalene-Odundo-Kenya-Britain-Red-clay-met

Magdalene Odundo ceramic vessel, Kenya

1997

 

 

Zaria,-one-of-the-oldes-Haussa-cities-in-the-Northern-Nigeria

Abstract relief facade, Zaria, Northern Nigeria.

© Bruno Barbey

 

 

Kenya-Arts-Diary-2014--Cyrus-Kabiru-eyeware-sculpture

Recycled eyeware sculpture by Cyrus Kabiru

Kenya Arts Diary 2014

 

 
 
 

 

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