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Re: [African_Arts] Why the Passion? Why African art?

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  • Veronique Martelliere
    Dear Moyo, I am going to tell you my craziest and most megalomaniac dream. In this dream, I am a person like the character played by Marlon Brando in the movie
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 2, 2005
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      Dear Moyo,

       

      I am going to tell you my craziest and most megalomaniac dream.

       

      In this dream, I am a person like the character played by Marlon Brando in the movie « Apocalypse Now » : I live out of the « daily world », out of time, in an old temple (but I do not kill anyone).

       

      Could be the Temple of Karnak, could be Angkor Wat, could be an old Yoruba or Rajasthani Palace…anyway : there is not much light in this place without electricity but braziers and candles perfectly enlight the rooms and their walls, full of statues, masks, and all sorts of old African, Oceanian, Asian carvings, casts, potteries and manuscripts.

       

      These rooms are more than rooms : each of them illustrates a facet of the human soul, of my soul. Lots of rooms, indeed, from the room of serenity (a Thai Buddha, a Luba statue, Isis, etc) to the rooms angers and fears. And the multiple rooms illustrating multiple mysteries of life and death and their multiple equations and answers.

       

      My soul is in this temple as well as this temple is in my soul.

      This is a dream with no end.

      Because the temple is so large, containing so many rooms that you start wishing the Hindoos are right and that you’ll get many other lives to carry on exploring it.

       

      The megalomaniac aspect of this dream could also be that I wish to be a sort of universal person with thousand ways of seeing the world (Weltansschauung), thousand beliefs, billion of answers. This proves also that I must be short of.

       

      So, Moyo, this is a dream. Only a dream. But I cherish it.

       

      Psychoanalysts focus on dreams.

      Precursors Sigi Freud and Carl-Gustav Jung were both collecting archeological and « tribal arts » (Joann, I follow you !). They were looking for the common roots and branches of the human soul.

      Freud wrote « Totem and Taboo » and Jung dedicated most of his research to what he called the « collective subconscious ».

      Then came the ethno-psychoanalysts as Devereux and others.

       

      They also used hypnosis.

      And here comes the short answer to your question : to me, collecting « tribal arts » is not only an intellectual research (at my low level) on the human soul (his needs, equations & beliefs) but also a sort of hypnosis to live crumbs of my crazy dream.

       

      Tribal Art is a passion, a flying carpet. Puts me in another dimension. A bigger dimension. Which, hopefully, gives my heart & soul a better dimension.

      Finally, something which conjugates humanism with egocentrism.

       

      I believe that we all need a Scheherazade - and I believe that « tribal art » is a very noble one. At least more noble than the Wallstreet or the White Sox ones.

       

      So, Moyo, that was my confession - and you are my psychoanalyst of the day !

       

      Be well,

      Vero

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       



      Mo Okdg <okdg@...> wrote:
      Dear group:
       
      I have received very great responses to my question. But I have not received enough. As a matter of fact, the responses have given me an idea: to put together a small book on the patronage of African art to accompany my gallery presentation at the museum. But I have received less than ten responses, and I need much more to fill a book. So please keep sending your entry.
       
      Moyo Okediji


      Yahoo! FareChase - Search multiple travel sites in one click.
    • Alison Brierley
      Hi there!!! I ve just joined the group and this is my first email. I am a new collector, but have travelled extensively and have always enjoyed picking up bits
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 6, 2005
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        Hi there!!!

        I've just joined the group and this is my first email.  I am a new collector, but have travelled extensively and have always enjoyed picking up bits from here and there. 

        Lately my partner has caught my enthusiasm for primitive art and ritual, and we have started to seriously collect!! 

        At the moment we concentrating on African art (mainly Congo/Mali/Gabon) and have acquired about 18 pieces.....for us, they are ALL fantastic and exciting!!  I especially like the masks and fetish pieces, i'm at present trying to find out things like..."why exactly did they put glass in the eyes?  Was it to reflect the viewers soul?"; & "Why is one of my pieces covered in brass, and is that a 'monkey' skull and bones in the compartment in it's back?"

        We are having trouble repressing our enthusiasm and want to buy everything our 'man-who-can' bring us!  I am trying to do research on our pieces, but his handwriting is terrible (bless him!!) and in French!  If i post some photos, is there anyone who can help me learn more about my new 'babies'?

        We recently travelled to the Tribal Art Expo in Amsterdam (27th - 30th oct) and saw some amazing (if over-priced) pieces at the show and in the galleries!  I managed to pick the brains of a few people, and am now busy trying to build a little web site to house what little info i got.  What i need now is a bigger place to dispaly all the art i got!!

        As 'mrmural' said below...... "What should I be looking for?  Is
        there anything "special" that I should be looking out for?".... 

        I would appreciate the same informaion and advice, on the above and on my collection so far!! 

        Thank you




        Alison Brierley

        From: "mrmural" <MrMural@...>
        Reply-To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [African_Arts] First Tribal Auction..need advice
        Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 09:57:50 -0000

        I've been collecting African works since 2000 and have truly enjoyed
        myself thus far.  I generally find my pieces at thrift shops, yard
        sales, antique shops, and recently auctions.  I'm considering my
        Masters in African Art History, but haven't found the right program
        yet. 
             I'll be traveling to an auction that is offering 45 lots of a
        tribal collection that belonged to a family of Belgium Congo farmers
        back in the 40's/50's.  Are there any needle in the haystacks to look
        for?  The auction isn't until March '06, so I have time to study and
        brush up on all of the possibilities.  I won't know what the lots look
        like until 1 week prior to the auction, so that's not enough time to
        study up on pricing and history.  What should I be looking for?  Is
        there anything "special" that I should be looking out for? 


        I look forward to being a part of the group and sharing this
        fascinating subject. 







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      • Craig Lewis
        Alison, welcome to the group, you should get plenty of information and opinions here. I think you have started, as many do, by buying nearly everything you see
        Message 3 of 16 , Nov 6, 2005
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          Alison,
          welcome to the group, you should get plenty of information and
          opinions here.
          I think you have started, as many do, by buying nearly everything you
          see or are offered. This way of buying will probably change as you
          get more knowledgable and choosy about what you buy.
          You ask quite a few questions and there are so many possible
          answers,the best thing to do is post some pictures for us to see some
          of what you have.
          The other question about "what to look out for" is a difficult one to
          answer, I only buy what I like to keep for my own collection and do
          not think about a re-sale profit. If you only want to buy for your
          own collection then all I can suggest is to look out for objects that
          you really like. There are many things that you will findfakes/copies
          of at a low price(for example Luba headrests)but you can find some
          things at comparitively low prices that are authentic (eg Ethiopian
          headrests).

          I hope you get answers to your questions and have fun collecting
          Cheers
          Craig
        • Rand African Art
          Hi Alison and welcome! Craig gave you some good advice. It is hard to repress your enthusiasm when you first start out, I had that trouble and I am sure that
          Message 4 of 16 , Nov 8, 2005
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            Hi Alison and welcome!

             

            Craig gave you some good advice.

             

            It is hard to repress your enthusiasm when you first start out, I had that trouble and I am sure that many others did as well, I think it is a common characteristic of new collectors of anything.

             

            Books can be your best friend when learning about the things you collect.

             

            The book “The Tribal Arts of Africa” is a good overall type of reference book that will help in identification of objects and give you some background, but not much.

             

            The book “A History of Art in Africa ” is a better overall reference book in my opinion and will give you examples as well as a lot of information about the objects and the people.

             

            Descriptions of the books can be found towards the bottom of my Recommended Reading page on my website:

            http://www.randafricanart.com/Recommended_Reading.html

             

            My recommendation is to get a few general reference books to start out with, look at examples in them and use them as reference while you learn about what you are collecting and what you want to collect. As you look through books you will probably find objects that will jump out to you and interest you and you will be able to research them and look on the Internet so when you come across one you want to buy you will have some examples in your head to know what you are buying.

             

            Buying books on specific cultures and their objects will be something you will want to do down the road unless you find that you are particularly interested in the objects from a particular culture and then it might be best for you to locate a good book with lots of information and examples on the objects from that culture to use as a reference.

             

            You have to be careful what the runners or traders tell you about objects. You will find that if they know that you do not know much, they will tend to tell you everything is old and everything is rare and good. Just beware, but if this is how you acquire most of your objects it will be hard to judge on your own until you learn more. Buy what you like and what interests you and what you want to live with in your house, don’t buy something because they say it is good and valuable.

             

            You have a learning curve to get past, as all of us did. Your tastes will probably start to change the more you learn and by seeing lots of different examples of the objects that interest you. Going to museums and tribal arts shows and galleries is a good way to see good objects and learn more. It takes time though, it’s not something you learn in a few weeks, it takes time and dedication and sitting down with a lot of good books.

             

            If you would like to post some photos in the photos section of the group of an object you have questions about, that would be great. My advice is to only post images of one object at a time because you’ll get a better response from others rather than if you posted images of 5 or more objects at a time:

            http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/lst

             

            I have some good recommendations on web hosting and web design tools for you if you are interested.

            Cheers!

            RAND 

            www.randafricanart.com



            Alison Brierley <brierleyalison@...> wrote:

            Hi there!!!

            I've just joined the group and this is my first email.  I am a new collector, but have travelled extensively and have always enjoyed picking up bits from here and there. 

            Lately my partner has caught my enthusiasm for primitive art and ritual, and we have started to seriously collect!! 

            At the moment we concentrating on African art (mainly Congo/Mali/Gabon) and have acquired about 18 pieces.....for us, they are ALL fantastic and exciting!!  I especially like the masks and fetish pieces, i'm at present trying to find out things like..."why exactly did they put glass in the eyes?  Was it to reflect the viewers soul?"; & "Why is one of my pieces covered in brass, and is that a 'monkey' skull and bones in the compartment in it's back?"

            We are having trouble repressing our enthusiasm and want to buy everything our 'man-who-can' bring us!  I am trying to do research on our pieces, but his handwriting is terrible (bless him!!) and in French!  If i post some photos, is there anyone who can help me learn more about my new 'babies'?

            We recently travelled to the Tribal Art Expo in Amsterdam (27th - 30th oct) and saw some amazing (if over-priced) pieces at the show and in the galleries!  I managed to pick the brains of a few people, and am now busy trying to build a little web site to house what little info i got.  What i need now is a bigger place to dispaly all the art i got!!

            As 'mrmural' said below...... "What should I be looking for?  Is
            there anything "special" that I should be looking out for?".... 

            I would appreciate the same informaion and advice, on the above and on my collection so far!! 

            Thank you




            Alison Brierley

            From: "mrmural" <MrMural@...>
            Reply-To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [African_Arts] First Tribal Auction..need advice
            Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 09:57:50 -0000

            I've been collecting African works since 2000 and have truly enjoyed
            myself thus far.  I generally find my pieces at thrift shops, yard
            sales, antique shops, and recently auctions.  I'm considering my
            Masters in African Art History, but haven't found the right program
            yet. 
                 I'll be traveling to an auction that is offering 45 lots of a
            tribal collection that belonged to a family of Belgium Congo farmers
            back in the 40's/50's.  Are there any needle in the haystacks to look
            for?  The auction isn't until March '06, so I have time to study and
            brush up on all of the possibilities.  I won't know what the lots look
            like until 1 week prior to the auction, so that's not enough time to
            study up on pricing and history.  What should I be looking for?  Is
            there anything "special" that I should be looking out for? 


            I look forward to being a part of the group and sharing this
            fascinating subject. 







            SPONSORED LINKS
            ObjectFine artCulture club
            Fine art posterFine art reproductionsOrganizational culture


            YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS





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