The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, April 19, 2014


Exhibition Explores Religious and Political Power of African Figure Sculptures
Bowl bearer. Luba, D.R.C. Wood, brass tacks, iron, beads; h. 39 cm. Felix Collection.Photo: © Dick Beaulieux, Brussels.

CLEVELAND, OH.- The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) presents Art and Power in the Central African Savanna, an original exhibition that explores the political and religious power of nearly 60 sculptures created by artists of four Central African cultures: the Luba, Songye, Chokwe, and Luluwa. Premiering at the Menil Collection in Houston last fall, Art and Power is on view at CMA from March 1 – May 31, 2009 and concludes at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (June 27 – October 11, 2009).

Carved primarily from wood, these figures act as containers for magical ingredients and serve purposes both religious and political. According to traditional beliefs, the figures mediate between the human and spirit world to ensure a healthy birth, successful hunt, or triumph over an enemy. The exhibition explores the aesthetic complexity and the mysterious potency of these diverse objects. Although the cultures explored in Art and Power have each been the subject of in-depth monographic studies, this is the first exhibition to focus on the shared concepts and ideas between four visually distinct artistic traditions.

“This exhibition attempts to introduce a sense of history into the discussion of African art, by linking developments in artistic styles with corresponding changes in Luba, Songye, Chokwe and Luluwa society,” said Constantine Petridis, the CMA curator of African art who conceived and organized the exhibition. “In addition, Art and Power demonstrates how certain works traditionally perceived by Western scholars as religious in nature also embody references to the political sphere—and vice-versa.”

Many of the featured objects combine “power” in both a religious and a political sense, countering the usual divisions made by scholars of African art between “sacred” art, framed by beliefs in the supernatural, and “secular” art, connected with the exercise of leadership. Indeed, this exhibition contains power figures that signal rank, wealth and status while simultaneously possessing the power to cure, protect, or harm.

In addition, Art and Power examines the artistic traditions of the heart of Africa within the context of historical change, thus countering the commonly held perception of African art as an art without history. Petridis suggests that among the four cultures a special form of power figure—characterized by large size, refined finish, and detailed rendering of anatomy and decoration — developed at a time of political and social reforms that resulted in a higher degree of centralization, a more complex political and social structure, and the emergence of an elite of high-ranking titleholders.

The exhibition contains masterworks on loan from public and private collections in the United States and Belgium, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the collection of Laura and James J. Ross in New York, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., the Felix Collection in Brussels, and the Ethnographic Museum in Antwerp. Highlights of the exhibition include:

 An extraordinary bowl bearer of the Luba people, consisting of a dynamic arrangement of humans and animals. Used as oracles by diviners working in the service of kings, bowl bearers’ powers included protection and healing of the village as a whole.

 A large Songye figure of a male whose body is bedecked with paraphernalia, including containers filled with magical substances like horns and miniature carvings. The size and sophistication of this figure indicate that it was the collective property of the village and served community needs.

 A majestic Chokwe male figure owned by the “lord of the land,” the highest political rank in Chokwe society. The sculpture most likely held a tall wood spear in the tubular container on its head, and may have been intended to safeguard the chief’s power and authority.

 A splendid Luluwa figure that represents a special form of female political power, and played a role in fostering a young woman’s fertility and the beauty and health of her children.




Today's News

March 1, 2009

MoMA Presents Major U.S. Retrospective of Influential German Artist Martin Kippenberger

The First BMW Art Car by Alexander Calder to Go to Irish Museum of Modern Art

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Announces Exhibition of Sarah Sze's Tilting Planet

Liverpool through a Lens: Work of Rock Photographer Goes on Display

Indianapolis Museum of Art Initiates Mission-focused Budget Reductions and Staff Restructuring

MoMA Deepens Commitment to Collecting, Preserving, and Exhibiting Performance Art

Notation: Calculation and Form in the Arts to Open at ZKM in Germany

2009 North Carolina Living Treasures: Ceramics by Cynthia Bringle and Norm Schulman Opens

Aperture Enters 2009 with Two New Hires in Development-Maria Laghi and Kit Baker

Exhibition Explores Religious and Political Power of African Figure Sculptures

Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge to be Offered at Phillips de Pury & Company London Design Sale

MCA Audiences Continue to Broaden with Another Year of Record Attendances

Getty Research Institute Launches New Online Cataloging Initiative

Legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem's 40-Year History Traced in Exhibition at The New York Public Library

Freer and Sackler Galleries Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with Monster Tales and Anime Films

Take a Closer Look at the Work of Local Artists and Collectors During Art in the Afternoon with the Taft Museum of Art

Scholars to Discuss Image and Movement March 13 and 14 During Symposium

New Online Collection Highlights First Years of Airmail Service

Art Now: Hurvin Anderson, Peter's Series on View at Tate Britain

As Gerhard Richter Portraits Opens National Portrait Gallery has Best Year Ever for Visitor Figures

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years

Related Stories



Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site