In 2008, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s African Art department made a landmark acquisition: a highly important Kongo nkisi nkondi power figure, attributed to the Chiloango River Master, previously in the Kegel-Konietzko collection (info). Ever since, its commanding presence welcomes visitors entering the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing. The exhibition Kongo: Power and Majesty, running from September 2015 to January 2016, will for the first time assemble twenty Kongo figures attributed to this artist. These nineteenth-century works will be historically grounded in relation to some 100 other Kongo masterpieces from both private and public collections. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue; for now, you can already read Alisa Lagamma’s interesting article about this figure and its maker in the Metropolitan Museum Journal here. A room full of these power figures surely will be an epic experience; many compliments to the Metropolitan for making the effort to temporarily reunite them.
The agenda for the coming months:
- Frieze Masters (London): 15-19 October 2014
- Zemanek-Münster (Würzburg): 18 October 2014
- Tribal Art Fair (Amsterdam): 23-26 October 2014
- Madison Ancient And Tribal Art (New York): 8-11 November 2014
- Sotheby’s (New York): Myron Kunin Collection: 11 November 2014
- Bonhams (New York): 12 November 2014
- Koller (Geneva): 12 November 2014
- Thema Sablon (Brussels): 26-29 November 2014
- Sotheby’s (Paris): Alexis Bonew Collection: 10 December 2014
- Christie’s (Paris): 11 December 2014
- Winter Bruneaf 5 (Brussels): 22-25 January 2015
- BRAFA (Brussels): 24 January-1 February 2015
- Native (Brussels): 24 January 2015
- Lempertz (Brussels): 27 January 2015
- San Francisco Tribal & Textile Arts fair: 5-8 February 2015
Refined Eye, Passionate Heart: African Art from the Leslie Sacks Collection, a 320 page catalogue on the modernist art dealer Leslie Sacks’ collection of African art, is finally available on Amazon. Together with Frank Herreman, I wrote an introduction about Primitivism which explores the relationship between African art, modern and contemporary art. Furthermore, I am also responsible for four texts on several objects from the Dan, Diomande and Wè. Read more about the book here (including some pictures from the inside).
As discussed last week here a lot of heavily encrusted figures from the southern Nigeria-Cameroon border are mistakenly identified as Keaka. I illustrated my text with such a Kaka figure, but wanted to take this opportunity to show two headdresses from the Keaka (or Eastern Ejagham) to give an idea of the art they in their turn created. Just as their neighbors the Banyang and Anyang, the Keaka adopted several mask types from the Boki, most notoriously the headdresses (sometimes called crest masks) covered with antelope skin and with a basketwork cap as the base for the dancer’s head. The two examples illustrated here belong to Stuttgart’s Linden Museum in Germany. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any additional information about them but they can most likely be dated as late 19th century (as many similar examples in German museums). Unless the exact provenance is given, It’s not always easy to determine the precise origin of these headdresses, that’s why we often find them listed as Ekoi (the common language in this area). Keaka examples generally distinct themselves by their naturalism (notable in the oval eyes, nose and mouth).