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Art Gallery the Eye and the Hand
Throughout the centuries, African artists have created artworks in various media that underscore the dynamic quality of Africa's visual traditions. The categories presented here represent the breadth of the collection and are intended as a guide.

The NMAfA collection includes tradition-based and contemporary works of art. Both address important issues of identity, history and aesthetics, demonstrate dynamism and reflect change as African artists respond to new ideas, materials and sources of inspiration.

Tradition-based arts help shape and reflect established formal, functional and aesthetic canons. These artworks, which are used in everyday and ceremonial settings, address individual and community needs and serve social, religious and political ends. Humans and animals, the primary subjects in African art, depict desirable and undesirable aspects of human behavior. Deities, ancestors and other spiritual beings that are portrayed embody the breadth of African religious beliefs and practices.

The creators of tradition-based African art are known and respected members of their communities. Unfortunately, those who created many of the exquisite works now found in museum collections remain unknown because their names were not recorded when the objects were collected many decades ago. In seeking to identify the makers of unsigned works of art, art historians have turned to historical records, oral histories and stylistic analysis to attribute works to a particular artist or workshop. Such research helps us better understand the relationships between artists and patrons and the circulation of objects in both the local and the global marketplace.

Works of contemporary African art stress individual vision and innovation and often address local (usually urban) and global audiences. They find their place within both African and global networks of interpretation and exchange. Their subject matter is broad yet frequently focuses upon visions of personal, national or pan-Africanist post-colonial identity and addresses struggles seen and heard within the larger contemporary art arena. Africa's contemporary artists work in a wide range of media, selectively filtering the global exchange through local channels and bringing local aesthetics to bear upon broader artistic debates and practices.


Collection Armand Auxietre
Art primitif, Art premier, Art africain, African Art Gallery, Tribal Art Gallery
41 rue de Verneuil 75007 PARIS
Tél. Fax. : +33 (0)6 61 12 97 26
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