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Re: [WoleSoyinkaSociety] Fwd: [African_Arts] Tribal - An Exhibition of Tribal...

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  • lokaart@aol.com
    Niyi Osundare raises a number of important points in his message of 10th October; points which, as he says, have been discussed previously, elsewhere.
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 11, 2011
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      Niyi Osundare raises a number of important points in his message of 10th October; points which, as he says, have been discussed previously, elsewhere. Although I lack the erudition of Professor Osundare, I am aware of the issues that he raises and I should perhaps state that the exhibition title "Tribal" was chosen deliberately to be provocative. And the same goes for the words "contemporary" and "anonymous" which are used on the exhibition's poster. Perhaps I should explain. Swindon , the town where the exhibition is to be held, is a small, rather provincial, place in the south-west of England . The Post-Modern Gallery, housed in an old Post Office - hence the name, in part of a complex that also includes a number of artist's studios. Whenever I talk to artists in Swindon about African art, I am usually given a reply such as, "Didn't Picasso incorporate African masks in his paintings?" And that is all that they seem to know about the subject. Accordingly, the exhibition will challenge such preconceptions. I will also be giving a talk at the Gallery where, again, I hope to challenge such views.

       

      In 1984 I was lucky enough to see the MOMA exhibition "Primitivism" in New York . I also saw the Royal Academy Exhibition "Africa . The Art of a Continent" in London in 1995, and am aware that both exhibitions came in for some pretty sharp criticism. I hope that I have taken such criticism into account in the Swindon exhibition/talk. If anyone wants to know how I feel on issues such as these, then I would suggest that they have a look at my essay "Behind the Mask. African Art/Western Imagination" that can be found on www.tribalartforum.org Unlike Professor Osundare I am not an academic, and some of my views may be badly stated, but I hope that anybody who does read the essay will agree that I am not unsympathetic to modern scholarship.

       

      On another level, and one that is slightly of more importance to me, is the underlying question of just why do I collect? And what is it that attracts me to objects from all over the world? I suppose that by organizing this exhibition I have been trying to resolve some of these previously unanswered questions.

       

                                                                                          Mike Yates

    • toyin adepoju
      Thank you ,Mike,for this prompt and careful response.I will make sure Osundare sees it. Oluwatoyin
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 11, 2011
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        Thank you ,Mike,for this prompt and careful response.I will make sure Osundare sees it.
        Oluwatoyin

        On 11 October 2011 10:34, <lokaart@...> wrote:
         

        Niyi Osundare raises a number of important points in his message of 10th October; points which, as he says, have been discussed previously, elsewhere. Although I lack the erudition of Professor Osundare, I am aware of the issues that he raises and I should perhaps state that the exhibition title "Tribal" was chosen deliberately to be provocative. And the same goes for the words "contemporary" and "anonymous" which are used on the exhibition's poster. Perhaps I should explain. Swindon, the town where the exhibition is to be held, is a small, rather provincial, place in the south-west of England. The Post-Modern Gallery, housed in an old Post Office - hence the name, in part of a complex that also includes a number of artist's studios. Whenever I talk to artists in Swindon about African art, I am usually given a reply such as, "Didn't Picasso incorporate African masks in his paintings?" And that is all that they seem to know about the subject. Accordingly, the exhibition will challenge such preconceptions. I will also be giving a talk at the Gallery where, again, I hope to challenge such views.

         

        In 1984 I was lucky enough to see the MOMA exhibition "Primitivism" in New York. I also saw the Royal Academy Exhibition "Africa. The Art of a Continent" in London in 1995, and am aware that both exhibitions came in for some pretty sharp criticism. I hope that I have taken such criticism into account in the Swindon exhibition/talk. If anyone wants to know how I feel on issues such as these, then I would suggest that they have a look at my essay "Behind the Mask. African Art/Western Imagination" that can be found on www.tribalartforum.org Unlike Professor Osundare I am not an academic, and some of my views may be badly stated, but I hope that anybody who does read the essay will agree that I am not unsympathetic to modern scholarship.

         

        On another level, and one that is slightly of more importance to me, is the underlying question of just why do I collect? And what is it that attracts me to objects from all over the world? I suppose that by organizing this exhibition I have been trying to resolve some of these previously unanswered questions.

         

                                                                                            Mike Yates


      • William Klebous
        Colloquially, there is just no avoiding the phrase tribal art at this point in time, if you expect to be generally understood. Although the word tribal may
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 20, 2011
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          Colloquially, there is just no avoiding the phrase "tribal art" at this point in time, if you expect
          to be generally understood. Although the word "tribal" may be inappropriate to precisely
          describe a specific cultural region/time period in Africa, informally it gets the job done.

          I've thought about this a fair deal, since my collection embraces mostly "non fine" art from
          most regions and time periods, right up until now. The word "primitive" might do the trick
          if it wasn't for its many well-noted unwanted connotations. And what about ancient Rome or
          Egypt?

          Obviously even the phrase "fine art" has substantial toxicity.

          Although I have zero expectations that my own personal approach to these issues will be
          adopted by anyone else ever, here it is:

          Three kinds of art, based upon the motivation of the creator: Intellectual, Decorative, and Devotional.

          Two sub-divisions for each: Commercial and Non-Commercial

          Two further sub-divisions under Commercial: Reflective of cultural hegemony. Not.

          One arbitrary exemption: Ancient or at least medieval

          So what kind of art do I collect? Ancient or at least medieval. Otherwise, reasonably old
          non-commercial and commercial devotional and decorative art, not reflective of cultural hegemony.
          Otherwise, non-commercial devotional art, regardless of age.

          And what kind of art does the average "tribal art" collector collect? Reasonably old commercial
          and non-commercial devotional and decorative art,  not reflective of cultural hegemony, and restricted
          to certain geographic areas of origin.

          But don't look for that title on your auction catalogue anytime soon lol.

           














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