All the books reviews
Shadows of New Guinea. Art of the Great Oceania Island from the Barbier-Mueller Collections - (ENGLISH)
Papua New Guinea is a great mountainous island with innumerable rivers that is an integral part of Melanesia. This work undertakes a global approach to grasping the history of the region, its specific details, and its place in today’s world. One hundred ninety masks, sculptures, and various other objects from the Barbier-Mueller Collection are the subject of this publication. Although many of these pieces are already well known (since the museum only publishes its own objects), this work will nevertheless be a delight to anyone interested in Oceanic art. With its superb iconography and numerous photos by Josette and Charles Lénars of traditional and contemporary environments, the book’s exhaustive text by thirty of the most renowned experts in the field along with the diversity of the artworks illustrated, make this work a passionate and irreplaceable reference on the art of Papua New Guinea.
Shields of Melanesia - (ENGLISH)
This wonderful book is inspired by Shields of Oceania, a unique exhibition of eighty Melanesian shields held at the Sydney College of the Arts during the 2000 Olympics. Curated by Geoff Carey of New Guinea Arts, the objects in Shields were lent almost entirely by Australian collectors who are members of the Oceanic Arts Society in Sydney. The typology of war shields in this book is based on an exhaustive survey of the literature, on the field experiences of the authors, and on a survey of the collections of major Australian Museums. Around eighty percent of the shields illustrated have never before been published. Dr. Adrienne Kaepler contributes a chapter on protective devices other than shields that were used in Melanesia and Polynesia, and explains why shields were not used in Micronesia.
Si Lointains, si Proches - (FRENCH)
In this book, inveterate fighter and talented photographer Jamel Balhi both publishes the photographs and relates the experiences of his extensive travels around the world. His snapshots are filled with life and capture the striking beauty of scenes in which color and light produce subtle and often moving atmospheres, and express an often ambiguous vision of humanity. The author clearly demonstrates the humanistic nature of his work when he states, "This album is a voyage to the land of similarities, an invitation to contemplation and to encounters, a way of building new bridges, and of crossing them."
Silver: From Fetish to Fashion - (ENGLISH)
A simple necklace purchased in Cairo many years ago spawned a fascination with silver that lured the two authors on a global quest in a search for tribal and ethnic jewelry. The result has been an encyclopedic collection of more than 700 examples of silver jewelry from around the world. It includes material from Egypt to Indonesia to China as well as the Americas. This part of the collection is particularly strong in Taxco jewelry from Mexico. The collection was recently the subject of an exhibition titled The Lure of Silver at the Johnson Museum of Cornell University. This hefty book is an independently published survey of the collection. In addition to clear photos, in situ images, and succinct descriptions, the book also contains essays by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta; John Loring, design director for Tiffany & Co.; and Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sipán. El tesoro de la tumbas reales - (Spanish)
This book both pays homage to and serves as a reminder of the great wealth of the historic heritage of the Lambayeque region of Peru. The author presents a thorough scientific study of the social implications and cultural importance of the fabulous discoveries of the royal graves in Sipán. This region, which was among the most important of ancient Peru, was home to one of the best-known ancient cultures there, the Moche. Three principal themes are approached in the book: historic context; the archeological excavations; and the project called Prodesipán, the objective of which is to improve the quality of life of the population of the region. To that end, for every copy sold, two euros will go to the people of Sipán.
Solomon Islands Art - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
There are only a few publications on the art of the Solomon Islands, an archipelago located northeast of New Guinea. With its superb and abundant iconography, this book reveals art dealer and Solomons specialist Kevin Conru's remarkable collection, here vibrantly honored with nearly 150 full-page illustrations, each carefully described. The unique qualities of these pieces can be explained by the relationship the Solomon Islanders had with the sea, which was an extraordinarily important inspiration to them in their art. The works are sober in tone and are characterized by the use of the color black, which is present on statues, bowls, and canoe prow ornaments. This is contrasted by the incorporation of white shell inlay. With its selection of masks from Nissan, canoe prows from New Georgia and Choiseul, ornaments, weapons, jewelry and figural sculptures, the Conru Collection proves itself to be sufficiently consequential to serve as a basis for a serious and thorough study of the art of this area. Waite, a well-known specialist in the art of the Solomon Islands, provides a wealth of information on the objects in the collection and on the cultures that created them, and also supplies abundant and enlightening documentation.
Something Magical - The Kwagh-Hir of the Tiv - (ENGLISH)
This book stands as a reminder to aficionados of the enormous amount of research that remains to be done in the area of African art. It also has the merit of widening the very concept of what “African art” actually is, since it is all too often mistakenly considered to be limited to the material culture of pre-colonial autochthonous peoples. This work examines the Kwagh-Hir (pronounced “Kwa-He”) masquerades of the Tiv in central Nigeria, and it honors a tradition that originated in the turbulent times immediately following Nigerian independence in 1960 and remains very much alive in rural areas today. The spiritual figures that make up the Kwagh-Hir are embodied in the masquerade by often monstrous-looking masks and marionettes that are associated with particular songs, some of which appear in the book and provide a deeper sense of meaning and significance. Iyorwuese Hagher, one of the book’s four contributing authors, explains that each element of the masquerade is also an animate symbol that represents certain essential aspects of the Tiv’s relationship with the world, and these are intended to elicit reactions of familiarity from the audience. An essay by Sidney Kasfir provides historical context for the Tiv and their art-making traditions. The book features beautiful illustrations of a large corpus of objects (largely face and body masks) from the collection of Jerome Bunch, who acquired most of them in the field during the second half of the twentieth century.
Songye Masks and Figure Sculpture - (ENGLISH)
This republished, limited edition of the 1986 book is one of the leading sources on the art traditions of the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Based on the author’s field research in the 1970s, it deals with the well-known masks and magical statuary of this group whose creativity has gained such extensive appreciation among Western specialists and collectors of African art. The author presents an interdisciplinary perspective that incorporates social, cultural and religious aspects of the Songye people, thus providing a wealth of information for understanding of the art traditions and styles that once characterized that region. This edition is sold by the nonprofit Songye cultural association Kantu Keetu Booso (K.K.B.) in Belgium to support community development projects in the Lomami homeland of the Songye. For more information, orders, and PayPal credit card payments, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
South of the Sahara - (ENGLISH)
This attractive volume highlights the African collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, which was reinstalled in refurbished galleries in 2003. The forty-two objects illustrated are solid and sometimes masterful examples of their types, and each is presented with a full-page plate, a page of explanatory text, and frequently a small field photograph showing the object (or one like it) in use. The latter is a simple device that is effective graphically and adds volumes to the description. Much of the material comes from the notable Katherine C. White collection.
SPECIAL ISSUE #1 La fondation Beyeler : Visual Encounters - (ENGLISH / FRENCH)
The first special issue of Tribal Art magazine, entirely dedicated to the exhibition Visual Encounters at the Beyeler Foundation (January 25 – May 24, 2009). This first Special Issue examines the major points of this exhibition through different visions and columns. Oliver Wick unveils the aesthetic principles that guided the spirit of the exhibition. An interview with Samuel Keller, director of the Foundation, reveals the little-known relationship that Ernst Beyeler had with tribal art early in his career. And the prominent dealers and collectors of tribal art Ana and Antonio Casanovas offer a connoisseur’s view of the objects that are amazing both in their quality and their pedigree.