The Benin Plaques
A 16th Century Imperial Monument
Hardcover ISBN: 1472451554
The 16th century bronze plaques from the kingdom of Benin are among the most recognized masterpieces of African art, and yet many details of their commission and installation in the palace in Benin City, Nigeria, are little understood. The Benin Plaques, A 16th Century Imperial Monument is a detailed analysis of a corpus of nearly 850 bronze plaques that were installed in the court of the Benin kingdom at the moment of its greatest political power and geographic reach. By examining European accounts, Benin oral histories, and the physical evidence of the extant plaques, Gunsch is the first to propose an installation pattern for the series.
Dynasty and Divinity
Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria
Paperback ISBN: 0945802536
Dynasty and Divinity presents a major part of the extraordinary corpus of ancient Ife art in terra-cotta, stone, and metal, dating from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries. Artists at Ife, the ancient city-state of the Yoruba people of West Africa (located in present-day southwestern Nigeria), created sculpture that ranks among the most aesthetically striking and technically sophisticated in the world. Dynasty and Divinity reveals the extraordinarily creative range of Ife art through a diversity of objects that includes handsome idealized portrait heads, exquisite miniatures, expressive caricatures of old age, lively animals, and sculptures showing the impressive regalia worn by Ife’s kings and queens. Together, these illuminate one of the world’s greatest art centers and demonstrate the technological sophistication of Ife artists, as well as the rich aesthetic language they developed in order to convey ideas about worldly and divine power. The refined sculptures from Ife demonstrate the dignity and self-assurance associated with the idea of dynasty, as well as the results of misfortunes and violence that could befall human beings -- both fates shaped by divine as well as human interventions. Among the many masterpieces from Ife art in this book are a group of life-size copper portrait heads, carved stone animals, and the spectacular seated male figure found in the town of Tada, Nigeria, shown dressed in an elaborate textile. Essays explore the significance of Ife’s stone, terra-cotta, and metal sculptures in the context of Yoruba history and culture and consider the significance of this portrayal of an ancient African city. Today, the city of Ife is still a spiritual heartland for the 29 million Yoruba people living in Nigeria and countless descendants in the Americas and elsewhere in the world. Dynasty and Divinity accompanies an exhibition co-organized by the Museum for African Art, New York City, and the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, Santander, Spain, in collaboration with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. The exhibition will appear at the British Museum, London, as Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures of West Africa.
Land As Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa
Hardcover ISBN: 158093370x
Featuring more than 100 extraordinary works of art from 1800 to the present, Earth Matters reveals how African individuals and communities have visually mediated their most poignant relationships with the land—whether it be to earth as a sacred or medicinal material, as something uncovered by mining or claimed by burial, as a surface to be interpreted and turned to for inspiration, or as an environment to be protected. Both internationally recognized and emerging contemporary artists are represented, from the continent and diaspora, including El Anatsui, Ghada Amer, Sammy Baloji, Ingrid Mwangi and William Kentridge. Highlights include a pair of rare Yoruba onile figures, a one-of-a-kind Punu reliquary from Gabon, and 3 bocio figures from the personal collection of legendary French dealer Jacques Kerchache. The text includes statements by contemporary African artists including Wangechi Mutu, Clive van den Berg, Allan de Souza, and George Osodi. National Museum of African Art curator Karen E. Milbourne explores how diverse African concepts of healing, the sacred, identity, memory, history, and environmental sustainability have all been formed in relation to the land in this pioneering scholarly study.
Paperback ISBN: 0714836273
In this introduction, Jaromir Malek, an internationally respected authority, deftly traces Egyptian art from its prehistoric origins through 3000 years of astonishing achievements in the era of the pharaohs to the conquest of Egypt by the Romans. He outlines artistic trends in each period, linking them to economic, political and spiritual developments, and discusses the full range of artistic output: monumental architecture, sculpture, wall-reliefs and paintings, furniture, jewellery, papyri and pottery. He concludes with a fascinating account of Egypt's influence on modern art. Illustrations document the immense variety and superb quality of the art and architecture of one of the world's great civilizations.
Drawing African Nature/ Dibujando La Naturaleza Africana
Hardcover ISBN: 8494670913
The dream of discovering African nature comes true in Namibia. Its exceptional wealth of animals has a name, Etosha. Francisco Hernández presents his unique fieldwork: a book full of drawings and paintings in which the mastery of his stroke, his exquisite treatment of light and the honesty with which he reveals the creative process, make this a useful publication for the naturalist and artist we all have in us. The dream of discovering African nature comes true in Namibia. Its exceptional wealth of animals has a name, Etosha. Francisco Hernández presents his unique fieldwork: a book full of drawings and paintings in which the mastery of his stroke, his exquisite treatment of light and the honesty with which he reveals the creative process, make this a useful publication for the naturalist and artist we all have in us. This work is full of beauty and sincerity, and its drawings will take us to one of Africa’s largest national parks, where we can still enjoy the magnificent spectacle of wildlife. El sueño de conocer la naturaleza africana se hace realidad en Namibia. Su excepcional riqueza animal tiene nombre propio, Etosha. Francisco Hernández, ilustrador de numerosas publicaciones y biólogo, nos presenta un trabajo de campo único, un libro repleto de dibujos y pinturas en los que la maestría del trazo, el exquisito trato de la luz y la honestidad con la que nos muestra el proceso creativo, hacen de éste un libro útil para el naturalista y para el artista que todos llevamos dentro. Es uno de los pocos cuadernos de campo publicados sobre el África subsahariana. Además, el subtítulo Dibujando la naturaleza africana da nombre a la colección que recorrerá buena parte del continente. Un trabajo lleno de belleza y sinceridad que a través del dibujo nos permite viajar a uno de los mayores parques nacionales de África, donde todavía podemos disfrutar del gran espectáculo de la vida salvaje.
African Origins of an American Art
Paperback ISBN: 094580251x
Through the prism of America's most enduring African-inspired art form, the Lowcountry basket, Grass Roots guides readers across 300 years of American and African history. In scholarly essays and beautiful photographs, Grass Roots follows the coiled basket along its transformation on two continents from a simple farm tool once used for processing grain to a work of art and a central symbol of African and African American identity. Featuring images of the stunning work of contemporary basket makers from South Carolina to South Africa, as well as historic photographs that document the artistic heritage of the southern United States, Grass Roots appears at a moment when public recognition of the Gullah/Geechee heritage is encouraging a reexamination of Africa's contribution to American civilization. Working with basket makers from Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, historian Dale Rosengarten has been studying African-American baskets for over 20 years and brings her research up-to-date with interviews of artists and the results of recent historical inquiry. Anthropologist Enid Schildkrout draws on her research in West Africa and museum collections around the world to explore the African antecedents of Lowcountry basketry. Geographer Judith A. Carney discusses the origins of rice in Africa and reveals how enslaved Africans brought to America not only rice seeds but, just as important, the technical know-how that turned southern coastal forests and swamps into incredibly profitable rice plantations. Historian Peter H. Wood discusses the many skills that enslaved Africans contributed to the settlement of the Old South and at the same time used to resist the conditions of their servitude. John Michael Vlach, a leading authority on African American folk art, discusses the history of visual depictions of plantation life. Fath Davis Ruffins, a specialist on the imagery of popular culture, sheds light on the history embedded in old photographs of African Americans in the Charleston area. Cultural historian Jessica B. Harris explores the tradition of rice in American cooking and the enduring African influences in the southern kitchen. Anthropologist and art historian Sandra Klopper sketches the history of coiled basketry in South Africa, illuminating its evolution from utilitarian craft to fine art, parallel to developments in America. Anthropologist J. Lorand Matory traces the changing meanings of Gullah/Geechee identity and discusses its appearance as a significant force on the American cultural scene today. Dale Rosengarten is curator of special collections at the College of Charleston library. Theodore Rosengarten teaches history at the College of Charlestona and University of South Carolina. Enid Schildkrout is chief curator and director of exhibitions and publications at the Museum for African Art, New York.
Hardcover ISBN: 8857233502
Premodern African art alongside contemporary art Group Spirit is an exhibition of works by contemporary artists alongside works of unknown African artists. Many of the contemporary works in Group Spirit use rough, non-artistic materials that achieve elevated status through their association with twentieth-century abstract art – a once-renegade style that conveys emotion and transcendent meaning. Liberated from literal narratives and relatable references, the contemporary works in Group Spirit evoke spiritually awakened aesthetic codes, customs, and traditions, speaking in the same voice as the masks’ tribal ceremonies that initiated individuals into their communities. Wild Style explores depictions of the human figure by contemporary artists and unknown African artists from 200 BC to the present. Wild Style establishes a horizontal as opposed to vertical paradigm, inviting the viewer to experience an exhibition where contemporary works of art stand on par with those from other cultures and periods. The works selected highlight the invisible bond linking 21st century artists and those of prior generations. However, drawing associations between the two is not to say that the works are actually connected in one way or another. On the contrary, at times the disparities may be more profound than the congruities between these works and artists, yet by juxtaposing them we may gain new understanding about ourselves and our fascination with the human form.