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Under the Influence of Songye

Art africain - Publisher Gourcuff Gradenigo - Ouvrage broché - 256 pages - Text in Bilingue Français / English - Published in 2012

Countless masks have left Africa for Europe and the United States. Like exiles that seize only the bare essentials for their unknown, some of these objects have managed to retain a portion of the power that brought them to life.

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Model LIV_9782353401390
Artist Art africain
Author Julien Volper
Publisher Gourcuff Gradenigo
Format Ouvrage broché
Number of pages 256
Language Bilingue Français / English
Dimensions 240 x 170
Technique(s) Plus de 90 reproductions couleurs
Published 2012

By some strange magic, the result of artistic talent, these masks are not reduced to mere "ethnographic trophies" hung on the cold walls of museums or private homes; whether studied by researchers or confronted by museum visitors, they keep intact and display proudly that famous, indefinable aura the "layman" experiences in their presence.

Very little is known about the astonishing round striated masks produced by the eastern Luba, and it is easier to highlight their strange beauty and their European pedigrees than to expand on the few established facts. They are known arbitrarily as "kifwebe", after the society of the same name found among the Luba and Songye, although nothing confirms their association with this iconographically charged label.

Each mask in its own way is a witness to, as well as the result of, cultural and artistic exchange between the various Katango and Kasaï cultures. The history of these round masks and crested masks carry us to various cultures, various beliefs.

Text in French & English.

Specialist of sub-Saharan Africa, Julien Volper is the curator of ethnographic collections at the Royal museum for central Africa (the Africa museum) in Tervuren (Belgium).

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