African Art

I long to revisit West Africa, this time focussing on the area from Ghana to Benin. I love Nigerian culture, I am really excited by Ibeji twin figures, ashanti art, of course Yoruba Benin bronzes and other great works from the region. I am particularly interested to see how the apparently spreading influence of Islam is changing or influencing the sculpture and other traditional arts of the area. I suspect soon the art of crafting anthropomorphic figures of wood and bronze will sadly fade and nonfigurative art will start to assert itself, as in Islam it is considered tabu to try to replicate the human form. 

I am particularly keen to get thoughts of my mentor on this, Dr. Jean Bourgatti, expert on African Art and a true believer in all things Nigerian. 
Benin culture has no parallel on earth, closest being ancient Greece. To call the art of Africa “primitive” is pejorative and untrue. The ancient bronzes of Benin are incredibly lifelike and represent a naturalized ideal in sculpture that is uncommon in art of the time. Would love to get back to that world. Again. Especially the Afro-Cuban Voudou angle. To be blogged again soon. Stay tuned.

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