As you know, research is at the heart of ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA. This month, we’ve curated a selection of resources to help you dig deeper into the history and variety of art objects found in ethnic groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and across the African continent. Learn how, what we view as art today, was once used in their traditional settings.
Frank Herreman’s book is described as a “one of the more interesting collections and surveys of masking from the Zaire basin”. Focusing on ethnic groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Face of the Spirits: Masks from the Zaire Basin details the masking traditions of the Yaka and Suku, Pende, Chokwe, Kuba, Songye, Tabwa and Lega to name a few.
In his book T A B W A: The Rising of a New Moon : A Century of Tabwa Art, anthropologist Allen Roberts, provides an excellent study of Tabwa art through the ages. It shows how some carved figures have been influenced by Hemba and Luba neighbours and how new figurative styles were created by chiefs and rich leaders.
A free resource from MetPublications, Genesis: Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture examines how 75 African art objects address the ‘genesis’ of the human race. The first part of the publication pulls together pieces from the Senufo, Yoruba and Kuba whilst Part II focuses solely on Bamana ci wara headdresses.
Art and history collide in Simon Ottenberg’s Masked Rituals of Afikpo: Context of an African Art. Focusing not only on Igbo masks but more specially on art found at Afikpo, a town within Igboland. The book profiles masks danced annually by during Okumkpa ceremonies to celebrate the end of the dry season and to satirise the lives of villagers.
Leave time for this one! This massive volume, written by a number of contributors (Joerg Adelberger, Gassia Armenian, Jean Borgatti, John Boston, Mette Bovin, Barbara Frank, Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi, Helene Joubert, Nancy Neaher Maas, John Picton, Susan Picton, Arnold Rubin, Constanze Weise, and John C. Willis), provides a comprehensive study of objects from the Benue River in Central Nigeria. Heavy on detail but rich in context Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley is a MUST for every collector of a Central Nigerian art.