Amsterdam's Tribal Art Fair 2020 goes online later this month

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Amsterdam's Tribal Art Fair 2020 goes online later this month
Lobi Chair. Wood. Mid-20th century. Photo: Galerie Lemaire.

AMSTERDAM.- Many visitors from the Netherlands and abroad were looking forward to the annual Tribal Art Fair in Amsterdam. Unsurprisingly, the organisers have cancelled the physical fair, scheduled to open in De Duif, Amsterdam later this month. In its place will be a special online version. The online fair opens on Thursday, 29 October at 15.00 hours. and continues until Sunday 1 November at 22.00 hours (Dutch time). During the four days, some 21 expert dealers and galleries, from across The Netherlands and seven other countries, are showing their most recent acquisitions to collectors, interior designers and interested members of the public around the world. Each exhibitor is showing up to fifty objects on the specially produced website.

Organiser Finette Lemaire of Galerie Lemaire said, “As with many other events around the world, the pandemic means that the annual Tribal Art Fair, usually held in Amsterdam, cannot take place in 2020. However, the good news is that we are taking the event online, which means it can be enjoyed by a much wider audience, wherever they live around the world. People can view over a thousand items for sale from Oceania, Africa, Asia and the Americas sitting in the comfort and safety of their home.”

After eighteen years, the Tribal Art Fair in Amsterdam has grown into an important international fair for collectors, dealers and museum curators in the field of tribal art. Tribal art is so much more than masks and sculptures. It also encompasses textiles, jewellery and utensils. It goes without saying that this diversity will be on display on the website of the online Tribal Art Fair 2020. For years now, ethnographic objects have been a source of inspiration for artists, designers and interior designers. The way in which these objects were made by specialist craftsmen is unique often incorporating indigenous and unusual materials. Highlights include a 19th century carved wood female ancestor figure (Adu Sirilawa) from northern Nias from Michael Woerner, a 19th century Fang guardian figure from southern Cameroon, €55,000 from Hermann Sommerhage, and a very rare terracotta figure attributed to Azume of Goemai, priced at €8,500 euros from Adam Prout - Ethnographic Art. Azume died in 1951; the British museum has two of her works. The British Museum examples and the one for sale at Tribal Art Fair 2020 Online appear to be the only examples extant.

A fascinating lecture programme takes place over three days which can be followed live online. Lectures and interviews include Dr Uli Kozok, professor at the University of Hawaii, speaking with visual artist Frans Jozef van Nispen about the drawings in the magical books of the Toba Batak from Sumatra. In another lecture, Canadian dealer Marc Assayag, author of "The stars are eyes", gives his opinion about how the yam masks of the Abelam from Papua New Guinea, should be viewed.

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