African Masks and Statues are not Art Objects

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African Masks and Statues
African Masks and Statues

African Masks and Statues are not Art Objects. It is quite common to hear about preliminary African paintings or to see museums of African art in Africa and around the world. But where does the term “African art” originate?

Gallery of “primitive African arts” or “of African art”

We understand that the term “African art” is a Western. Indeed, large, small, masks made of wood, ivory, bronze or gold, toys, and statues – which the West awakens during communion or which Westerners can see while standing on the continent. They call them “African art”.

But are the thousands of these materials – which Africans have made throughout their long history – art? Do they choose to look or feel attractive? The answer is no, because art in the Western world and in the generally accepted sense lies in the representation of beauty, the perception of people and objects as they experience them in nature. Therefore, when the natives create art, they create objects (stones, trees, etc.) or beings (beings, animals, etc.) in paintings or sculptures (sometimes in the unconscious mind). , intuitive or visual mode).

The West thinks that the Universe – from the smallest to the largest – is basically material and manifest. So, these are elements of the world that are often displayed and displayed in museums or bought for a private person to see.

Example of a European art painting. We see nature clearly represented as it appears to the naked eye (the sky, clouds, greenery, etc.). This is what Westerners themselves call classical art, just as realistic Greek sculptures also classically use the definition of art.

In Africa however, sculptures, statuettes, masks and many more are not the continuation of a materialistic philosophy.

Africans consider that the Universe is composed of 3 essential elements: the Spiritual (Ba), the Energetic (Ka) and the Material (Khat). The Spiritual and the Energetic are derived from the Creator. They are the elements that animate the Material and enable it to live. The Spiritual and the Energetic therefore take precedence over the Material. The Invisible is superior to the Visible.

Therefore, when an African is making statuettes or sculptures, he does not intend to materialize things as they are visible to the naked eye in nature. He rather intends to do so for invisible things, spirits, deities, and the ancestors’ spirits.

All these objects are in reality material supports of the Invisible and have two functions: to populate the earthly world with spirits and to order the energy distribution.

In a dominant way, these supports have imaginary forms in search of the Invisible. These forms in particular are evocative of the “African art”. These masks were made at the request of the priests, who then vitalized them, that is to say, who brought the Spirit or Energy needed to inhabit the statue.
Pende and Metoko masks from DR Cong
Africa has also produced realistic materials as in Egypt. The Edo-Yoruba sculptures are the best examples during the Imperial period (Image: Yoruba sculptures from Ile-Ifé, Nigeria)
Statuette representing fertility. During the rites, God’s manifestation representing fertility was to come and spiritually inhabit the statue and assist the women in the community, so that they would continue to conceive and give birth.
The fact that present-day-colonized Africans call these statues harmful “fetishes”, shows how tragically regressive and ignorant we have become
Fon Royal statuettes of Danhomey, made for the Vodoun cult
The Ato ceremony of the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin), on 18 June 2018 at musée du quai Branly, Paris / GERARD JULIEN/AFP

All these objects are used for rituals and worship. They are instruments of worship, so they cannot be sold or exhibited in museums as art objects.

Cameroonian journalist Mbog Bassong tells us more about the resolution of these statues and sculptures: “Sacred things are not objects of museums (…) All the power from which our ancestors and governments come the material world of these things, at the mouths of temples or governments, in neuralgic, telluric or energy fields from the grid field. “

By that, weaving African screens or traditional African sculptures and sculptures and keeping them at home as if they were ornaments, is like entering a church, placing a sculpture and moving home from making a simple ornament.

The theft or destruction of these things by thousands, often by force and after the killing of priests and the burning of temples, Europeans and Arabs have two purposes: to keep Africans alive, to enable them to identify their identity and thus research; the next generation of Africans – who are unaware of this father’s deeds – believe they are incapable of such beautiful things and therefore lock them in the eternal sector of power.

In short, masks, puzzles and sculptures are not art because:

They try to represent the invisible (spirit, power), not exposure (material).
They are objects of worship, not objects intended for expression and visualization.

The same can be said for music, as described here. Your first task is to create an authentic copy of the creation. Ancient Africa, therefore spiritual, is very different from the African god as it is today.

However, the Sacred Hearts of Africa should be distinguished from the works of art of contemporary African painters and painters, in other words, contemporary African paintings, we decided to see it and sell it.

Contemporary African Art
Hyper-realistic painting of Nigerian artist Olumide Oresegun

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