A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Alford Green private collection
by Laila Morcos Jan 31, 2006, 11:09 PM found at http://www.kplctv.com
He bought those 200 pieces for about $20,000. Now, his collection is worth millions. "Some pieces I haven't seen in two or three years," Green said, "because they're in warehouses, boxes. I can't get to it."
The collection is an array of sculptures, masks, cloths and ceremonial pieces collected from across the African continent: Nigeria, Zaire, The Ivory Coast. "The way it was carved, and the manners in which it was carved, and the areas that I saw were so primitive," he said, "and I could not understand how people did what they did to make it so pretty."
Now, collecting is an addiction of sorts to Green. He says, "It becomes a habit and I have a habit that I'll be collecting until I die."
But there's more to Green's contribution. This is a never-seen-before collection of woodcuts called "Umabatha." It's the Zulu version of "Macbeth." Alford says, "It tells the whole story all the way around until the death."
To make this display possible, Alford put up thousands of his own dollars to make it available here in Lake Charles. He says, "It's the most unique thing I've ever seen."
So why display here and why now? Alford says he want to instill the importance of art in young people. "So they can grow up with art in their mind and not be an old person trying to learn the art field, so it can enhance their minds and become better people," he says.
But for now, Alford's retried and won't travel to Africa anymore. But that's OK. He says, "I kind of like laying around now. I really do." And he enjoys watching others gain pleasure from his hard-earned treasure.
The Arts and Humanities Council is setting up private tours of exhibit. To set up a tour, call 439-2787.
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