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ANF News

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

 

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Bryan Reeves - Animal helmet style dance mask, Pende people.DRC. Ex private collection UK, Height 30 cm.

Tribal Art London will unveil Spirit Animals, the third in a series of curated, commercial, online exhibitions, from 3rd December 2020 to 10th January 2021. The exhibition involves all the dealers who would have been present at the physical 2020 Fair, postponed until September 2021 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. With over 100 objects on sale from leading international tribal and ethnographic dealers, Spirit Animals will be the largest online selling exhibition to date hosted by Tribal Art London in place of the fair. It is accompanied by an E-catalogue which includes articles on the ritual use of animal forms and a piece by Marc Assayag, dealer and author, discussing his book, The Stars Are Eyes, about the masks of the Abelam of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

David Malik - Wooden bush cow mask. Grasslands, Cameroon 63.5 cm.

Nature is slowly receding as humans, technology and industrialisation dominate the world. Most of us will hardly ever see a wild mammal, Apart from on television, and currently only 4% of mammals in the world are wild. However, at one time wild animals surrounded us and were a core influence on people’s lives. Spirit Animals explores the relationship between man and beast and the expansive use of animal form in rituals and culture.  

In western culture we enjoy humanising our animals, YouTube is full of videos of animals behaving like humans, sitting on chairs, “speaking” and dressed up in human outfits. However, in the early rituals of many cultures across the world it was the innate behaviour of animals that was seen as beneficial for humans to mimic rather than vice versa. The snake sheds its skin, reborn and living on forever; rams butt heads while fighting for a mate and are represented in art conveying masculinity and fertility; leopards, as one of the few hunters of humans, were associated with government and the ability to control the lives of the people. Fierce fighters, the baboon alongside monkeys were commonly depicted in masks and sculpture: with their human features it is no surprise that they are seen as an invitingly familiar form to shift with for ritual purposes.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Ian Shaw - Venda Spoon. This is a beautiful spoon from the Venda people of Northern South Africa . The Venda are cattle owners and their iconography is often found on their prestige objects. The Cow Horns are prominent on the handle of this spoon. Late 19th century in fine condition. Priced at £580.   

The choice of animals for depiction can be puzzling: lions, rhinos, zebras and giraffes which most of us associate with African savannah landscapes are scarcely ever depicted in African ritual objects. Instead it seems the most popular animals are those that have transformative qualities - physically or behaviourally. Perhaps this is why the pangolin, one of the strangest creatures walking the earth, is seen so often in ritual art. A sacred animal, nocturnal and covered with fish-like scales, not only are parts of its body integrated into ritual objects, the iconography of its form is abstracted and applied as a design to masks, headpieces and clothing.

Buffalos are depicted in multiple cultures’ rituals, their method when being hunted of double backing and attacking from behind, disappearing for much of the day in the long grass combined with their crepuscular lifestyle makes them an enigmatic animal likened to witches. For the Tabwa people of Zaire the buffalo is an important animal to the chiefs of the community. The chief, like the buffalo, must be strong; a mystery, watching but never seen to be obvious or biased in his decisions. In Mali, the Dogon tribe are animist with a variety of animal-inspired masks: the fox represents disorder and disobedience within the world and is considered the enemy of water, fertility, and civilization.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Bryan Reeves - Baboon mask Luba, DRC Animal mask depicting a fierce baboon Powerful expression Part a series of animal masks that were created by Luba artists around the 1960s and used in traditional dance Height 33 cm. Priced at £4200.

Animals that inhabit multiple landscapes such as land, air and water are seen as important with special powers. Birds represent the bringing of fertility not unlike the western view of the stork. The lowly hen conveys maternity, hospitality and sacrifice. An Asante saying related to law and punishment is “the mother chicken does not stand on her chicks to kill them but to guide them along the correct path”. The crocodile is called the ‘lion of the water’ by the Tabwa due to the efficiency with which it kills. The crocodile’s habits are erratic, still and quiet while in water and then a sudden flurry of aggression and power. For the Ijo the crocodile is revered as a water spirit which they believe are like humans in having personal strengths and shortcomings and that humans’ dwell among the water spirits before being born. The Ijo have a great affinity with water - they are related to the founders of the Great Nile Valley civilization complex (and possibly the Lake Chad complex). Traditionally, the Ijo hold celebrations to honour the spirits, lasting for several days. And the highlight of the festival is the role of masquerades: here, men wearing elaborate outfits and carved masks dance to the beat of drums and manifest the influence of the water spirits through the quality and intensity of their dancing.

The dog, one of the most universally loved animals, has a mixed reputation throughout Africa. The Kongo people believe the dog to have two sets of eyes, one for this world and one for the next, giving them the ability to pass messages back and forth from the living to the dead: running over a dog is as bad as striking a person. The Minyanka people of Mali sacrifice dogs as a dog’s blood like a human is considered bitter and the nature of a dog like a human, vengeful. The ritual therefore must be carried out very carefully to avoid the negativity of the sacrifice reverting on the sacrificer.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Dan Gägon - (Bird Mask) A fine Ivory coast, Dan bird mask, which would originally have had a monkey hair beard and possibly bead decoration around the head. Small split in wood over right eye. Mid 20th C £550 Supplied with stand Height w/o stand 11 ins/28 cms side profile length 10.5 ins/26cms.

Tribal Art London’s Spirit Animals exhibition will feature works for sale from Bryan Reeves of Tribal Gathering and other UK-based exhibitors including Cordelia Donohoe, specialist in ethnic jewellery, textiles and adornment; Joss Graham, well-known London dealer in ethnographic textiles, particularly those of India and Africa, and works of art; Sam Handbury-Madin, a young, third-generation dealer with wide-ranging tastes; Kenn MacKay, with a special focus on American Indian art; David Malík focusing on the material culture of Central and Western Africa; Kezhia Orege with tribal adornment, Tom Hurst a young but already impressive dealer and Ian Shaw, a specialist in African art and textiles.

From overseas is Jeremy Sabine (South Africa), specialist in South African artefacts; Rob Temple (Belgium) with objects from Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Frans Faber (Netherlands) with art from Indonesia, Oceania and Africa.

Spirit Animals opens online from 3rd Dec 2020 to 10th Jan 2021 at Tribal Art London.



ANF News

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

 

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Bryan Reeves - Animal helmet style dance mask, Pende people.DRC. Ex private collection UK, Height 30 cm.

Tribal Art London will unveil Spirit Animals, the third in a series of curated, commercial, online exhibitions, from 3rd December 2020 to 10th January 2021. The exhibition involves all the dealers who would have been present at the physical 2020 Fair, postponed until September 2021 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. With over 100 objects on sale from leading international tribal and ethnographic dealers, Spirit Animals will be the largest online selling exhibition to date hosted by Tribal Art London in place of the fair. It is accompanied by an E-catalogue which includes articles on the ritual use of animal forms and a piece by Marc Assayag, dealer and author, discussing his book, The Stars Are Eyes, about the masks of the Abelam of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

David Malik - Wooden bush cow mask. Grasslands, Cameroon 63.5 cm.

Nature is slowly receding as humans, technology and industrialisation dominate the world. Most of us will hardly ever see a wild mammal, Apart from on television, and currently only 4% of mammals in the world are wild. However, at one time wild animals surrounded us and were a core influence on people’s lives. Spirit Animals explores the relationship between man and beast and the expansive use of animal form in rituals and culture.  

In western culture we enjoy humanising our animals, YouTube is full of videos of animals behaving like humans, sitting on chairs, “speaking” and dressed up in human outfits. However, in the early rituals of many cultures across the world it was the innate behaviour of animals that was seen as beneficial for humans to mimic rather than vice versa. The snake sheds its skin, reborn and living on forever; rams butt heads while fighting for a mate and are represented in art conveying masculinity and fertility; leopards, as one of the few hunters of humans, were associated with government and the ability to control the lives of the people. Fierce fighters, the baboon alongside monkeys were commonly depicted in masks and sculpture: with their human features it is no surprise that they are seen as an invitingly familiar form to shift with for ritual purposes.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Ian Shaw - Venda Spoon. This is a beautiful spoon from the Venda people of Northern South Africa . The Venda are cattle owners and their iconography is often found on their prestige objects. The Cow Horns are prominent on the handle of this spoon. Late 19th century in fine condition. Priced at £580.   

The choice of animals for depiction can be puzzling: lions, rhinos, zebras and giraffes which most of us associate with African savannah landscapes are scarcely ever depicted in African ritual objects. Instead it seems the most popular animals are those that have transformative qualities - physically or behaviourally. Perhaps this is why the pangolin, one of the strangest creatures walking the earth, is seen so often in ritual art. A sacred animal, nocturnal and covered with fish-like scales, not only are parts of its body integrated into ritual objects, the iconography of its form is abstracted and applied as a design to masks, headpieces and clothing.

Buffalos are depicted in multiple cultures’ rituals, their method when being hunted of double backing and attacking from behind, disappearing for much of the day in the long grass combined with their crepuscular lifestyle makes them an enigmatic animal likened to witches. For the Tabwa people of Zaire the buffalo is an important animal to the chiefs of the community. The chief, like the buffalo, must be strong; a mystery, watching but never seen to be obvious or biased in his decisions. In Mali, the Dogon tribe are animist with a variety of animal-inspired masks: the fox represents disorder and disobedience within the world and is considered the enemy of water, fertility, and civilization.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Bryan Reeves - Baboon mask Luba, DRC Animal mask depicting a fierce baboon Powerful expression Part a series of animal masks that were created by Luba artists around the 1960s and used in traditional dance Height 33 cm. Priced at £4200.

Animals that inhabit multiple landscapes such as land, air and water are seen as important with special powers. Birds represent the bringing of fertility not unlike the western view of the stork. The lowly hen conveys maternity, hospitality and sacrifice. An Asante saying related to law and punishment is “the mother chicken does not stand on her chicks to kill them but to guide them along the correct path”. The crocodile is called the ‘lion of the water’ by the Tabwa due to the efficiency with which it kills. The crocodile’s habits are erratic, still and quiet while in water and then a sudden flurry of aggression and power. For the Ijo the crocodile is revered as a water spirit which they believe are like humans in having personal strengths and shortcomings and that humans’ dwell among the water spirits before being born. The Ijo have a great affinity with water - they are related to the founders of the Great Nile Valley civilization complex (and possibly the Lake Chad complex). Traditionally, the Ijo hold celebrations to honour the spirits, lasting for several days. And the highlight of the festival is the role of masquerades: here, men wearing elaborate outfits and carved masks dance to the beat of drums and manifest the influence of the water spirits through the quality and intensity of their dancing.

The dog, one of the most universally loved animals, has a mixed reputation throughout Africa. The Kongo people believe the dog to have two sets of eyes, one for this world and one for the next, giving them the ability to pass messages back and forth from the living to the dead: running over a dog is as bad as striking a person. The Minyanka people of Mali sacrifice dogs as a dog’s blood like a human is considered bitter and the nature of a dog like a human, vengeful. The ritual therefore must be carried out very carefully to avoid the negativity of the sacrifice reverting on the sacrificer.

Tribal Art 'Spirit Animals' Online Selling Exhibition - 3 December 2020 - 10 January 2021

Dan Gägon - (Bird Mask) A fine Ivory coast, Dan bird mask, which would originally have had a monkey hair beard and possibly bead decoration around the head. Small split in wood over right eye. Mid 20th C £550 Supplied with stand Height w/o stand 11 ins/28 cms side profile length 10.5 ins/26cms.

Tribal Art London’s Spirit Animals exhibition will feature works for sale from Bryan Reeves of Tribal Gathering and other UK-based exhibitors including Cordelia Donohoe, specialist in ethnic jewellery, textiles and adornment; Joss Graham, well-known London dealer in ethnographic textiles, particularly those of India and Africa, and works of art; Sam Handbury-Madin, a young, third-generation dealer with wide-ranging tastes; Kenn MacKay, with a special focus on American Indian art; David Malík focusing on the material culture of Central and Western Africa; Kezhia Orege with tribal adornment, Tom Hurst a young but already impressive dealer and Ian Shaw, a specialist in African art and textiles.

From overseas is Jeremy Sabine (South Africa), specialist in South African artefacts; Rob Temple (Belgium) with objects from Africa, Asia and Oceania, and Frans Faber (Netherlands) with art from Indonesia, Oceania and Africa.

Spirit Animals opens online from 3rd Dec 2020 to 10th Jan 2021 at Tribal Art London.