all you ever wanted to learn about african art part ii n.
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  1. All You Ever Wanted to Learn About African Art Part II Exploration, Colonization, and Independence By: Liz, Jack, and Brandon Wood and Child in Tow By: Cyprian Ogambi (modern day, Kenya)

  2. A Little Review Saltcellar by: Master of the Symbolic Execution, Sapi-Portugese, from Sierra Leone, 15-16th century Nok head, terra cotta, Nigeria, 5th century BCE King, from Ife, Nigeria, 11th-12th century, zinc-brass alloy

  3. European Contact • First: Portugal, late 15th Century • Early Contact Period: 15th-19th century • Slave Trade • Islam vs. Christianity • Imperialism/Colonialism- Africa divided into pie slices

  4. Context and Meaning • Many African pieces taken out of context • Important to remember original function and location of piece • Where you view a piece of African art, from what angle, and who you are plays a huge role in interpretation (similar to modern art) • Functionality depends on place

  5. Example of Functionality and Importance of Context • Samburu Kenya • Costumes, hairstyles, jewelry- gender specific, age specific, status specific • Each part of their outfit is symbolic of their background

  6. Conventionalization and Gender Roles Ceramic Ancestral Portrait, created by a woman • Each group had strict artistic conventions • Men are ironsmiths, architects, carver; Women are wall and body painters, potters, sculptors • Some art is collaborative • (ex) Akan peoples of Ghana Two shrine figures (akuamma), Asante, Ghana, Wood

  7. Themes • Veneration of Ancestors • Power of Kings • “Aesthetic Overload” • Spirituality of Art • Education of Youth • Aiding the Community • Continuity of Life

  8. Veneration of Ancestors • Royal Ancestor Altar, Benin, Nigeria  • Finest materials used • King’s head- symbolic • Hierarchal Positioning

  9. Primordial Dogon Ancestors • Dogon- Mali • Man and Woman on common base • Depiction of Gender roles • Simplified body structure • Fertility gestures • Symbolic and spiritual function

  10. Igbo Houses for the Gods • Nature Gods demanded houses to be made • Mbari house- made of Adobe, spiritual purpose • Thunder god Amadioha and his wife • Fusion of modernity and tradition • Mbari houses return to the earth

  11. Male Figures (ndop) • Representing King Kot a-NtsheyKuba, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo • Artistic tradition • Figures placed next to an ailing king near death to absorb life essence • Kept in wives’ quarters

  12. Nail Figure • Kongo • Embodied specific spirits to heal or harm • Power shown in symbolic cowrie shell • Villagers held figures in awe • Purpose: evoke ancestors for guidance and help

  13. Masquerades • Crucial to African society • Masks held power and societal status • Usually used for education and entertainment • Masquerades- strongly ritualized dramas • Men control masks in most societies • Administrated justice in some societies

  14. Satimbe Mask • Dogon, Mali • Creation story illustrated • Used every 3-6 years • Dama ceremony- commemorate those who had died since the last Dama


  16. Female headdress (D’amba dance) and Male Mask • BagaSitemu, Guinea • D’amba mask shows ideal Baga woman (bears many healthy children) • Male Banda mask embodies power symbols representative of males

  17. Female Mask • Mende, Sierra Leone • Ideal feminine characteristics • Unusual preference for female maskers in this society • Maskers are teachers, mentors, initiators

  18. Three horned bush-spirit mask (Bo nun amuin) • Baule, Cote d’Ivoire • Animal imagery • Spiritual power • Male-oriented bush life • Costume usually made of raffia- a bush material (wild over civilized)

  19. African Art Today • Colonial governments caused erosion of leadership arts in African culture • Increased secularization • Traditional values still present, not as relevant in modern society • Art reflects societal changes

  20. Coffin in shape of hen with chicks • By: Kane Kwei • Ghana, 1989 • Functionality • Wooden Caskets for the Ga people • Coffin is for a senior woman with a large family • Decorated other objects

  21. Ta Tele • By: TrigoPiula • Democratic Republic of the Congo • 1988 • International style • Fuses Western and Congolese cultures • Traditional Kongo power figure (nkisinduda) stands in front • Television has deadened contemporary Congolese peoples’ minds with the need for modern commodities

  22. African Art Transforms Europe Runner Mask from The Dan (Ivory Coast) Henri Matisse’s The Young Sailor 1906

  23. African Art Transforms Europe Ancestral figure, Kongo, nineteenth and twentieth centuries Pablo Picasso’s Pregnant Woman 1950

  24. African Art Transforms Modern Artists Reliquary Guardian Figure (Mbulu-Ngulu), Kota, from Gabon, 19-20th century Romare Bearden’s The Woodshed 1963

  25. Vocabulary • Masquerade- A ritualized drama performed by several masked dancers, embodying ancestors or nature spirits • Akuaba- small wooden fertility figures carved by Asante men in Ghana • Ndop- A male figure commemorating a living or dead King, carved by the Kuba people of the Congo • Genetrix- a legendary founding Clan mother • Bo nun Amuin- Composite imagery animal masks created by the Baule people of the Cote D’Ivoire. Represents the spirit power of the bush