Tribal art dealer species
A very funny reading about all kind of African art dealers species.
by Veronique Martelliere who wrote it for our discussion
TA-dealers : species.
|the Whatever-Dea-Dealer : born to sell, anything from cans to
cosmetics. The only thing he knows and wants you to know is the price. |
Standard dialog :
- “Where does this come from ?
– $ 1.200.”
| the Who-Cares-Dealer. The WCD is an art-dealer maybe because
his daddy was. But is not interested. At all. |
Who cares where this piece comes from ? If it pleases you, if you want it,
buy it and beat it.
| the Fairy-Tale-Dealer : |
- What was this used for ?
– It is a magical stick used by Walawala witches to get rid of
– Waou. How interesting.
The FTD will assert that this piece is a “Bibakobo” statue from Nigeria
or Zaire (bottomless wells of unknown sub-tribes). You stay on the other side of
the fairy-tale mirror, spend a hell of time searching in books and on internet
the Bibakobo and Walawala tribes. In vain. But that’s part of the fun.
| the Emphatic-Dealer. His shop is not a shop : it is a stage.
Dancing between his pieces, with large gestures, the ED will make a Richard
III tirade about the lines, the galbs, the proportions, the grace, the
sensuality of the shapes… the mystery of death, beauty, eternity, infinity…
maybe in verses, if you are lucky. You feel smashed by the weight of HIS
OK, man, bravo. I may come back for this beautiful performance and dare
disturbing your décor.
| the Invisible-Dealer : hidden in the bushes of Internet, the
ID sells objects through the screen. He shows his statues, his masks… but
never his face. By the way, does God exist ?|
| Ali Baba-the-squirrel : he piles his pieces as hazelnuts in
his « cave ». Bring your surgeon-gloves, a torch and an Indiana Jones hat
(!! Spiders !!). While ABS is searching for a paper or anything he lost, you
can take your time exploring the den. Beware, though : only the dust may be
| the Passionate-Hunter-Dealer. He will answer all questions and
more : he will provide you with a tsunami of informations. |
Sometimes you even feel guilty for buying something which carries memories of
so many adventures. If things go on a lucky way, the PHD will become your
| the COMICs-Dealer sells Copies Originally Made In Cameroon,
usually in open-air markets. He may be himself originally made in Cameroon.
“Yes, these are copies. But copy-making also requires talent and time”.
True. Right. Of course. |
| the Snob-Dealer : If you are Gucci-shoed, Rolex-watched and
Hermes-decorated, the Snob-Dealer will bend his back, serve you his most
obsequious smile and make you feel that you are, for ever, his Master. He will
answer all your questions and tell you the price with a low and confidential
voice. Are you also a snob ? So, make an effort and try to enjoy.|
If you are not “properly” dressed or, say, just a normal-spontaneous
person, the Snob-Dealer will look down on you, with a pout of disgust. Maybe
he will stand in the middle of his shop until you leave the place OR he will
ignore you and pretend doing something important on his 18th century desk,
asking his high-heeled assistant to watch you. If you ask a “silly”
question (as : where does this piece come from ?), he will use half of his
lips to answer. If you ask for the price, he will use his most cruel smile to
clearly articulate a 4 or 5 figure number.
If you can afford it, use your most satanic smile while laying out your $$ or
If you are in one of your bad days, do not leave the place without saying :
“It is a shame : the few authentic pieces pathetically miss aestheticism. Let’s
go next door.”
This typology is not exhaustive.
All HEs can be replaced by SHEs.
Thank you for reading.
Sorry for my frenglish.
And thank you, dealers, for existing.
NB. A PHD friend of mine gave me an idea of :
Antique-art dealers talking together
- Mine is better than yours… … but, tell me, how did you get it ?
- You just got this ? Yeah… not bad. You are sure that it is authentic ?
Beware, because there are many copies of this kind on the market, you know…
- I happened to have one like this, before… But of higher quality.
- You don’t think that your price is too high (~ too low) ?
- You could have sold it for a much higher price.
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