A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Cantor Arts Center-Stanford University
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for
people. Côte d'Ivoire
The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents art in 24 galleries plus sculpture gardens, terraces, and courtyard. The Center's diverse collections span 4000 years and the world's cultures and number some 25,000 objects, including the largest collection of Rodin bronzes outside Paris. Nearly 100 contemporary sculptures sited outdoors throughout campus await your discovery. Entrance is free.
In Africa, masks and figures were made to express specific ideas to a limited audience, mainly in personal or communal rituals. The exhibition emphasizes this approach in drawing extensively on a comprehensive collection of figurative sculpture and a wide variety of masks. The gallery is arranged by region: the Western Sudan, the Guinea Coast, the Equatorial Forest of Central Africa, and the Southern Savanna.
The collection has special emphasis on the art of the Bamana people of Mali, the Yoruba of Nigeria, the Fang and Tsogo people of Gabon, and the complex Kuba and Luba regions of influence in Central Africa. It includes not only masks and figures, but also regalia, beadwork, and related objects. There is a strong emphasis on representations of the human form in the collection, and one central theme of the installation is the body as metaphor. In African sculpture the human form can have various meanings, some as explicit as fertility, some as abstract as justice. Female and male figures have symbolic roles, whether they are independent or paired or joined. Masks combining human and animal references create a new identity for the wearer. The history of Africa as recorded in stone, ivory, metal, clay, and wood goes back more than 2500 years, but most of the works in the collection are wood, the most widely used medium and the most perishable. There are also a number of early works in terra cotta, and a large collection of early 20th century Zulu beadwork. Further growth is planned. Works have been selected for their aesthetic merit and the way they express their role in the culture in which they were used, when that is known.Manuel A. Jordan, Phyllis Wattis Curator of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
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mail David Norden phone +32 3 227.35.40