All the books reviews
Wild Beads of Africa. Old Powderglass Beads from the Collection of Billy Steinberg - (ENGLISH)
This gorgeous, heavily illustrated volume is the first book dedicated to the rare nineteenth-century powderglass beads often referred to as Bodom or akoso. Made in Ghana and used by the Asante and Krobo peoples, these beads are worn both as magical talismans and as visible symbols of wealth and prestige. In his introductory essay, noted bead authority Jamey D. Allen offers new insights into the art and technology of powderglass beadmaking, and his extensive glossary of related bead history, manufacture, and classification provides valuable detail. Stunning new photography by Fredrik Nilsen showcases one of the world’s premier bead collections, assembled by renowned songwriter Billy Steinberg. A short foreword is provided by John and Ruth Picard, themselves authors of many volumes on African beads. The beads are presented as full-page plates, with descriptive text as an appendix. The matte paper on which the book is printed is an unusual but effective choice, as it is in keeping with the surface of the beads and allows their bright but dusty tones to be accurately portrayed. For anyone interested in African beads, this publication is a must.
Wired: Contemporary Zulu Telephone Wire Baskets - (ENGLISH)
Wired presents a distinctive new art form created within the rich cultural context of contemporary Zulu/South African culture. The book showcases hundreds of extraordinary, colorful telephone-wire baskets, a craft based on Zulu traditions but using recycled materials. This is a beautifully produced book about an extraordinary art form, which is eloquently described in both text and photos. It includes stories about the work told by the weavers themselves.
Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route - (ENGLISH)
This beautiful catalog was published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition held at the “controversial” National Museum of Australia in Canberra. The Canning Stock Route is a legendary track created in 1906 by Albert Canning to allow farmers to move their herds. It extends over 1,800 kilometers across Western Australia, from Kimberley to Wiluna. The story of the creation of this livestock trail has always been expressed in colonial terms, while Canning himself was accused by a royal commission of acts of cruelty to his local guides. He was finally cleared of all charges, although some doubts remain to this day. An exhibition at Canberra recently tried to tell this story through the eyes and in the words of Aborigines. In 1970, eighty-eight artists traveled this road for six weeks, creating more than 100 paintings and remembering the stories connected with places visited. This trail passes through the territories of several Aboriginal language groups and its establishment has had a devastating effect on the lives of these people. The catalog includes beautiful reproductions of the works created in 1970 and, for the first time, expresses the impact that this trail has had from an Aboriginal perspective. It is a story that extends to a time almost before reckoning and is closely linked to Australian Aboriginal culture.
Yuungnaqpiallerput: The Way We Genuinely Live. Masterworks of Yup’ik Science and Survival - (ENGLISH)
Yuungnaqpiallerput illustrates and explores the methods and technologies used by the Yup’ik people to live and survive in the bleak sub-Arctic environments of western, southwestern, and central Alaska. The book guides the reader through ceremonies and traditions, as well as the more practical means used for survival during the year’s cycle of seasons. It is detailed in its descriptions and each chapter has a small dictionary section that translates the most commonly used words and terms from the Yup’ik language. The volume explores how and why specialized tools were developed, what they were made of, and how they were utilized. Personal anecdotes and stories from the contributors’ own experiences lend warmth to this unique examination of human ingenuity and adaptation.