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Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

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  • Ann Porteus
    Thank you for the link Lee. This video does show the reality of collecting art in Cameroon and West Africa. Jonas is one of my suppliers. He is an honest
    Message 1 of 21 , Dec 29, 2012
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      Thank you for the link Lee.
      This video does show the reality of collecting art in Cameroon and West Africa.

      Jonas is one of my suppliers. He is an honest trader and presents in business just as he has on this video with honesty and dignity.
      As he says at the end of his commentary, "nobody wants to know, nobody wants to show"
      There are few traders who would document the story as he has.
      He has shown courage and done extremely well to explain and demonstrate exactly how the antiques business operates in his country. 

      How can we not wonder how some of the major auction houses manage to find a never ending supply of amazing antiquities?

      Maybe it is difficult to believe that there are still genuine old pieces in Africa. Just as it is difficult for antique dealers to believe there are still old colonial pieces remaining in Tasmania. If this is the case I wonder why they keep flying in for every estate auction here. The reality here is that many of the old families still have pieces passed through their families and these pieces do sometimes appear in auctions. People everywhere sell when they need cash and Africans are no different. 
      The difference in Africa is that traders feel pressured to create a provenance for more recent pieces and copies. How else can they achieve a reasonable return for their art.
      This does damage the business for those selling genuine old pieces and is a real problem for them.

      In the end it all comes down to aesthetics. Does it appeal to you, is it beautiful and well executed. There will always be old and new beautiful as well as old and new ugly. Really it is a no brainier. Go for the piece you like.
      Like everywhere Africa has great and mediocre carvers. Always go for the best regardless of age. 

      Jonas also works as a tour guide so if you are considering a trip to Cameroon I could not recommend a better guide.

      Enjoy the journey,
      Ann


      Ann Porteus

      Sidewalk Tribal Gallery

      19-21 Castray Esplanade,

      Battery Point 7004

      Hobart Tasmania Australia

       

       

       

      Also Toogooloowa on Davey, fully self contained holiday apartments.

      Call John: 0413 481 233 or Ann: 0414 340 331

      or book through Stayz.


      On 29/12/2012, at 1:33 AM, Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...> wrote:

       

      Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

      There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

      Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

      Lee

    • puffedz
      Interesting comments Sent from Samsung MobilePeter Ntephe wrote: I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer: I do not claim
      Message 2 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
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        Interesting comments


        Sent from Samsung Mobile

        Peter Ntephe <peentephe@...> wrote:
         

        I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

        However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

        As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated.  

        I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago. 

        Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

        Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.     
         
        Peter

        From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

         
        Hello,
        Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
        I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
        kind regards

        GI 

        Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:

         

        Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they are….

        bob

        From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>
        Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
        Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AM
        To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

         

        A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
        véro

        From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
        Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
         
        Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

        There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

        Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

        Lee





      • Ed Jones
        Lee:   An exceptional film illustrating African perspectives without the Western collector s usual tort, trite, veneration attempts, and/or explanations
        Message 3 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
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          Lee:
           
          An exceptional film illustrating African perspectives without the Western collector's usual tort, trite, veneration attempts, and/or explanations with the (typical) scholarly "claims" about their artwork.  Actually, this reminds me of some of Moyo's views expressed to the group several years ago.
           
          Perhaps the relatively recent publication titled Making History: African Collectors and the Canon of African Art by Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie.  The publication focuses on the Femi Akansanya collection of art in Nigeria, and can also increase the awareness of African perspectives, valuation and analysis of their artworks.  Certainly, this is not the only publication on African art written by "black" Africans from their perspectives.  However, it is truly a 5-star (plus) publication.
           
          Ann Porteus:  Thank you kindly for bringing this particular post / thread to my attention.  
           
          Fantastic.  Especially if viewed without polarized views. 
           
          Ed

          From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
          To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 7:33 AM
          Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
           
          Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

          There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:
          http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/african-art

          Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

          http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11410/Je-ne-suis-pas-moi-m--me-
          Lee
        • Ed Jones
          Thanks Peter :)   ________________________________ From: Peter Ntephe To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Message 4 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
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            Thanks Peter :)
             
            From: Peter Ntephe <peentephe@...>
            To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:19 PM
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
             
            I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

            However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

            As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated.  

            I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago. 

            Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

            Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.     
             
            Peter
            From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
            Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
             
            Hello,
            Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
            I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
            kind regards

            GI 

            Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:
             

            Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they are….

            bob

            From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AMTo: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

             

            A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
            véro

            From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
            Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
             
            Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

            There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

            Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

            Lee


          • Bob Ibold
            There s been a lot of reaction to the documentary Je ne suis pas moi meme that Lee recommended. I was especially fond of Peter s explanation of his preference
            Message 5 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
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              There's been a lot of reaction to the documentary Je ne suis pas moi meme that Lee recommended. I was especially fond of Peter's explanation of his preference for technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty over authenticity and antiquity. I agree with that.

              Perhaps it's time to ask about real African traditional art as it is produced today. It may be hard to find, but it's alive and well throughout Africa and its Diaspora. Why do we collectors, dealers and museums avoid this material? Of course, the carvers and runners will avoid it as well.

              Bob Ibold
              MasksoftheWorld.com
              Lancaster, PA, USA


               05:19 PM 12/29/2012, you wrote:
               

              I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

              However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

              As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated. 

              I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago.

              Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

              Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.    
               
              Peter

              From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

               
              Hello,
              Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
              I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
              kind regards

              GI

              Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:

               

              Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they areâ….

              bob

              From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@... >
              Reply-To: < African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
              Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AM
              To: " African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" < African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

               

              A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
              véro

              From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@... >
              To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
              Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
               
              Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

              There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:
              http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/african-art

              Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

              http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11410/Je-ne-suis-pas-moi-m--me-
              Lee




            • Bob & Karen
              I agree, Thanks Peter --- well said. bob From: Ed Jones Reply-To: Date: Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:03 AM
              Message 6 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                I agree,  Thanks Peter --- well said. 
                bob

                From: Ed Jones <bucit@...>
                Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                Date: Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:03 AM
                To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                Subject: Re: PETER [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                 

                Thanks Peter :)
                 
                From: Peter Ntephe <peentephe@...>
                To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:19 PM
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                 
                I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

                However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

                As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated.  

                I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago. 

                Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

                Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.     
                 
                Peter
                From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
                To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
                Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                 
                Hello,
                Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
                I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
                kind regards

                GI 

                Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:
                 

                Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they are….

                bob

                From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AMTo: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                 

                A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
                véro

                From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
                To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
                Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                 
                Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

                There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

                Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

                Lee


              • Beth Peart
                AMEN. Hearing this is refreshing! B   ONÍSÙÚRÙ NI YÍÒ JOGÚN AYÉ The patient person shall inherit the earth ________________________________ From: Bob
                Message 7 of 21 , Dec 30, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  AMEN. Hearing this is refreshing!
                  B
                   







                  ONÍSÙÚRÙ NI YÍÒ JOGÚN AYÉ
                  The patient person shall inherit the earth


                  From: Bob & Karen <rizzo6@...>
                  To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2012 4:44:55 PM
                  Subject: Re: PETER [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                   
                  I agree,  Thanks Peter --- well said. 
                  bob

                  From: Ed Jones <bucit@...>
                  Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                  Date: Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:03 AM
                  To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: Re: PETER [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                   
                  Thanks Peter :)
                   
                  From: Peter Ntephe <peentephe@...>
                  To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:19 PM
                  Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                   
                  I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

                  However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

                  As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated.  

                  I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago. 

                  Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

                  Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.     
                   
                  Peter
                  From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
                  To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
                  Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                   
                  Hello,
                  Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
                  I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
                  kind regards

                  GI 

                  Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:
                   

                  Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they are….

                  bob

                  From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AMTo: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                   

                  A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
                  véro

                  From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
                  To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
                  Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                   
                  Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

                  There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

                  Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

                  Lee




                • david m
                  Here is an interesting article by Sidney Kasfir dealing with the problematic term authenticity in the context of African art.
                  Message 8 of 21 , Dec 31, 2012
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                    Here is an interesting article by Sidney Kasfir dealing with the problematic term 'authenticity' in the context of African art. 
                    She raises important questions and issues such as who determines cultural authenticity of African artifact(s), who classifies it, how and by whom is it legitimated...

                    Another very good text by S. Kasfir I will recommend is the ‘One Tribe, One Style? Paradigms in the Historiography of African Art

                    Best regards,

                    David

                    ARTENEGRO
                    African Tribal Arts
                    London

                    www.artenegro.com

                    To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                    From: rizzo6@...
                    Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 16:44:55 -0500
                    Subject: Re: PETER [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                     

                    I agree,  Thanks Peter --- well said. 
                    bob

                    From: Ed Jones <bucit@...>
                    Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                    Date: Sunday, December 30, 2012 8:03 AM
                    To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                    Subject: Re: PETER [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                     

                    Thanks Peter :)
                     
                    From: Peter Ntephe <peentephe@...>
                    To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:19 PM
                    Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                     
                    I am African and grew up there so first a disclaimer:  I do not claim by my background that I have any superior knowledge of African art.

                    However, all through my childhood, my father 'collected.'  He travelled a lot and picked up a lot of masks, carvings, figurines, etc which formed the decorations in our house.  Growing up under his wing, we learnt to stop at villages that were the centres of such art to to look for interesting pieces.  Never for once over the first 25 years of my life was it a consideration that any of these pieces was 'authentic' or 'antique' in the sense that I subsequently found to my surprise were very important for foreign/Western collectors and determined the pecuniary valuation attached to the objects.

                    As I have become an adult and started collecting in my own right, I have collected on the basis my father did - the technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.  I have collected them as decorations rather than as antiques or things actually used for some ceremony or the other.  I have found it difficult to stifle a laugh when I see childish, childlike and rudimentary pieces (produced by 'craftsmen' of clearly little skill or training) collected and assigned relatively stupendous value by Westerners on the basis that they were 'antique', 'authentic' or 'tribal.'  Several times, I have been in a crafts market where non-African tourists were asking about authenticity and overheard the craftsmen in a vernacular I understand ask one of their number to stop the craftsmen from bringing in another piece like that while the transaction was being negotiated.  

                    I continue to collect on the basis of technical proficiency and aesthetic beauty.  I care nought for the basis of authenticity or antiquity that seems to be so prized on this forum and elsewhere.  I care not whether the pieces were made for tourists or not.  I always believed they all were anyway and have been for a long time, probably going back to sub-Saharan Africa's first contact with white people interested in 'collecting' the pieces, over 200 years ago. 

                    Africa has a lot of what I call 'literate art' as well.  This is art, whether in the form of paintings, crafts, sculpture or carvings, produced by artists trained in the various university art faculties and the other training centres in higher institutions of learning.  This usually gets short shrift as it is not 'authentic' African art - it is not made in rural areas and remote villages by semi-literate craftsmen.  That is a real pity.  Some stunning work exists in the literate art spheres of Africa.

                    Anyway, thanks for the film.  I laughed through many portions of it.     
                     
                    Peter
                    From: Gi Mateusen <mateusen@...>
                    To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Saturday, 29 December 2012, 11:26
                    Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                     
                    Hello,
                    Yesterday I had contact by email with one of the Cameroon dealers in the documentary and this is what he wrote to me: "The documentary was just a way to express to the world what we Africans go through in this business and also to make people know that these rich art dealers who claim not to do transactions with us Africans do really do them"
                    I know him since more than 10 years and a lot of pieces that he presented are for sale in the galleries in Brussels and other places, sometimes with invented "provenance"….
                    kind regards

                    GI 

                    Op 29-dec.-2012, om 17:07 heeft Bob & Karen het volgende geschreven:
                     

                    Thanks Lee!! Does make ya wonder just what we own…I'm happy I collect pieces I like for just what they are….

                    bob

                    From: Veronique Martelliere <proximatribal@...>Reply-To: <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:15 AMTo: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>Subject: Re: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest

                     

                    A film of BIG interest. Thank You very much, Lee !
                    véro

                    From: Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...>
                    To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Friday, December 28, 2012 3:33 PM
                    Subject: [African_Arts] An Exhibition and a Film of Interest
                     
                    Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:

                    There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group members:  African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde  runs through mid-April:

                    Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation and authenticity of African art.  Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.

                    Lee




                  • john
                    Well- an interesting little film but it does suggest that honesty does not exist in the tribal art world, or not as an ordinary person might understand it.
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jan 1, 2013
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                      Well- an interesting little film but it does suggest that honesty does not exist in the tribal art world, or not as an ordinary person might understand it.










                      --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:
                      >
                      > There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group
                      > members: African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde runs through
                      > mid-April:
                      > http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/african-art
                      >
                      > Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety
                      > -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation
                      > and authenticity of African art. Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne
                      > suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our
                      > discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of
                      > the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.
                      >
                      > http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11410/Je-ne-suis-pas-moi-m--me-
                      >
                      > Lee
                      >
                    • stephen.ellmann
                      Another source telling a story like that of this film is a short, good book by Christopher Steiner called African Art in Transit (Cambridge University Press
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jan 2, 2013
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                        Another source telling a story like that of this film is a short, good book by Christopher Steiner called "African Art in Transit" (Cambridge University Press 1994), an up-close study of the African art markets in and spreading out from Cote d'Ivoire.

                        One of the troubling aspects of all this is that it seems quite likely that any piece that actually is old and played a part in traditional ceremonial life in Africa has probably left that context and arrived in the art market as a result of some act of power, in which economic need induced people to surrender or transfer objects of meaning to the market.

                        Steve

                        --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "john" <johnhf1947@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Well- an interesting little film but it does suggest that honesty does not exist in the tribal art world, or not as an ordinary person might understand it.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, Lee Rubinstein <leerubinstein@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Looking at the movement of African art into Western view and appreciation:
                        > >
                        > > There is a current exhibition at the Met which may be of interest to group
                        > > members: African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde runs through
                        > > mid-April:
                        > > http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/african-art
                        > >
                        > > Also, I recently came across a film -- accessible on-line in its entirety
                        > > -- that considers various aspects of the creation, collection, valuation
                        > > and authenticity of African art. Filmed in Cameroon and Belgium, "Je ne
                        > > suis pa moi-meme" illustrates many of the topics we often touch upon in our
                        > > discussions regarding authenticity and value as well as offering a view of
                        > > the social milieu of African art trade on the African continent and abroad.
                        > >
                        > > http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11410/Je-ne-suis-pas-moi-m--me-
                        > >
                        > > Lee
                        > >
                        >
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