A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Bregger discovering Africa in Appleton
By JORGE SANCHEZ, SP Times Published January 27, 2006
Although they've never been to Africa, Jack and Maggie Bregger have acquired enough masks, antelope sculptures and other pieces to stock two of the county's libraries with an African art exhibit.
The pieces will be on display through the end of February at the Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills and the Coastal Ridge Library in Crystal River. cclib
The Breggers said they became attracted to African art after visiting an art dealer on Sanibel Island about 15 years ago. They continued to buy African art pieces from the shop, Aboriginal Art in the First Person. This continued for many years. The shop closed last year, although it is still in business on the Internet.
"Most of these pieces are authentic, meaning that they were once used for a specific purpose. They weren't specifically made for trade," Jack Bregger said. "But once they were used, their spiritual value to the people was gone, so they can be collected."
He said the couple became attracted to the African art because the natural wood tones add warmth when displayed in a home.
Among the collections are masks, antelope sculptures and combs. The combs from the Baule people of the Ivory Coast are used in greetings, much the same as Westerners shake hands. When Baules greet each other, a comb is removed from their hair with the right hand and then replaced with the left hand.
Another interesting piece is a sculpture of twins. The annotation, written by the Breggers, said the Yoruba people have the highest rate of twinning in the world. The sculpture was made as a vessel for the spirit of a deceased twin to inhabit. The Yoruba believe twins share the same soul. The sculpture is cared for by the surviving twin's family.
The Breggers went to the Appleton Museum in Ocala to study its larger African art collection and gather information for the annotations accompanying the pieces in the library displays.
"We don't collect spears or shields," Maggie Bregger said. "We tend to go toward the nonviolent items that focus on fertility or agriculture."
The pieces on display customarily line the walls and shelves of the Bregger's home in Clear View Estates.
Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call 860-7313IF YOU GO
For more information call Central Ridge Library at 746-6622, Coastal Region Library at 795-3716 or visit the library system's Web site at www.cclib.org Central Ridge Library is at 425 W Roosevelt Blvd., Beverly Hills; Coastal Region Library is at 8619 W Crystal St., Crystal River. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.[Last modified January 27, 2006, 01:21:16]
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