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Steffen Patzwahl

Steffen Patzwahl

Collector
Belgium

About ten of us are waiting in line to get in. I hear peacocks and parrots cawing in the distance, and the scents of nature and fl owers fill the spring air. A few minutes later, Steffen makes his appearance. His firm and friendly handshake, his self-assured demeanor, and his broad and sincere smile invite us to follow him. His house is located a few meters from the entrance to the Pairi Daiza, the famous animal park a few miles from the city of Mons in Belgium that has recently been named the best zoo in Europe. As I passed through the door to his place, I had the impression I was entering into a palace of a thousand treasures. Unusual sculptures were everywhere, illuminated by enchanting light fi xtures. A collection of korwars adorned the mantelpiece and Buddha statuettes were grouped together in a recessed niche, side by side with old maps. A group of shrunken heads elegantly lined up on a cabinet echoed the New Guinea fi gures and the Australian shields visible in nooks elsewhere in the room. In front of a library overfilled with books on exotic voyages, a superb albatross appeared to be flying off above our heads. The sounds of Gregorian chant, for which, he later told us, he has a particular fondness, were the musical backdrop to this scene. The ambience certainly was conducive to speaking in confidence.

Javier Peres

Javier Peres

Collector
Cuba

In a field where an abiding question is, “Why are there no young collectors?” Javier Peres stands out, not only as a remarkably active collector who is in his early forties, but as an individual who is unusually passionate about African art. His contemporary art gallery, Peres Projects, is currently based in Berlin but has a presence at just about every art fair of any consequence. This grew from smaller spaces, fi rst in San Francisco and then in Los Angeles, New York, and Athens. Wherever his base of operations has been, Peres has made a splash on the international art scene with his bold selection of artists and artworks and his hardcore style as a gallerist. Over the years his stable of artists has included such names as Terence Koh, Bruce LaBruce, assume vivid astro focus, Joe Bradley, Dan Colen, Dash Snow, Agathe Snow, Kirstine Roepstorff, Alex Israel, David Ostrowski, Brent Wadden, Leo Gabin, and Mark Flood. His artists’ works have been included in such prestigious juried events as the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, the Tate Triennial, and the Sao Paulo Biennial, to name just a few of their accolades. While his work with contemporary art is famous and even infamous in the art world, his relationship with African art has been little discussed but has long been a major part of his life and his aesthetic perception. We recently paid a visit to his beautiful Berlin apartment, had a cup of tea in a Peter Shire mug, and talked about the truly remarkable collection of African art around us, which comfortably shared the space with large canvases by major-name contemporary painters, many of whose notable careers he helped build.

Pierluigi Peroni

Pierluigi Peroni

Collector
Italy

Long known to a small circle of cognoscenti, Pierluigi Peroni’s boundless love for small African art objects has gained in notoriety since the publication in August of 2015 of the book Micromonumentalité (5 Continents Editions), which is devoted to his collection. More recently, in the spring of 2016, a selection of 300 of his objects was presented to the public in a temporary exhibition at the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków, accompanied by a catalog titled Small: Hidden World of Africa. Having thus come to our attention, we were anxious to meet him and learn more about his interests. The opportunity presented itself in Paris last autumn, and our conversation was animated, to say the least. Tribal Art Magazine: You are originally from Italy, a country that has demonstrated relatively little enthusiasm for tribal art. How did your interest in African art develop? Pierluigi Peroni: I was born in Gallarate, in the province of Varese, but Italy isn’t where I discovered tribal art. I came across it in my travels. When I was very young, five or six years old, I began to accompany my grandfather, who was a hunter, on his trips to Africa. We went there two or three time a year for many years, and we visited Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, the Congo, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon, to name just a few places. All that to say that these hunting expeditions, which happened some fifty years ago now, afforded me the opportunity to visit some extremely remote places.

Marc  Petit

Marc Petit

Collector
France

The Musee du Quai Branly is currently sowing the twenty-two primitive Nepalese masks it was given in 2003 by writer Marc Petit, and it seemed an opportune moment to shed light on this generous and unusual collector's personality. Petit received us in his Paris apartment in the fourteenth arrondissement, amid his Gallic currencies, his books, his textiles, his masks, and. of course, his butterfly boxes...

Bruno Piazza

Bruno Piazza - Tribute

Artist
Indonesia

A friend is gone. He left as he lived, with dignity and honor, as he had de- cided. His smile slipped for the last time between two Balinese seas, without fanfare or public attention. In disappearing, he leaves us with the memory of beautiful aes- thetics and charming elegance. His whole route, from Science Po and diplomacy to photography, and from art nouveau to tribal art, traced a path around the world and through time: a furrow full of friendships, shared joys, and loves retained. He was able to find and touch people sensitive to his taste, and he showed us what man is capable of if he makes the effort. He was always a generous host, com- passionate without condescension and radiating intelligence and culture...

Bérengère Primat

Bérengère Primat

Events creator
Switzerland

Nestled in the high plateau of Crans-Montana in Switzerland, the Pierre Arnaud Foundation in Lens is presenting a magnificent exhibition on Australian art called "Art aborigène. Territoire du Rêve" ("Aboriginal Art: Dreaming Territory"), which will be on view until May 20, 2018. Bérengère Primat, a woman whose sensibility for the culture is a part of her family’s DNA, is the driving force behind this groundbreaking show. In the first interview she has agreed to give, she told us in her gentle and understated tone about her unusual connection with Australian Aboriginal art. Her story is both fascinating and touching, and it demonstrates that love, humility, and determination can lead to incredible human experiences as well as artistic ones.

Enrico Prometti

Enrico Prometti - Tribute

Artist
Italy

Enrico Prometti was a devout explorer of the arts. His life was devoted to his ever-evolving development as a painter and sculptor, but was touched profoundly by his encounter with tribal cultures, particularly that of the Dogon of Africa. I knew Enrico as a fellow enthusiast of tribal art but befriended the man because of his dedication to all creativity. I came to admire him as a great artist because I could see the unremitting forms of expression that he created at every turn. Be it an abstract painting or collage, a sculpture of granite, or a detailed and delicate watercolor, Enrico would pursue it. And his work was inspired by everything. primitivism, tribal art, and ultimately the art and cosmology of the Dogon. As a collector, Enrico explored too...

Paul Rabut

Paul Rabut

Collector
United States

The Merrit Parkway begins twenty miles south of Hartford, Connecticut, and is an hour away from Paul Rabut’s home in Westport. This isn’t a typical highway—it’s a distinctive winding road with Art Deco bridges and fully grown trees that cast their shadows as they bend towards the median strip. Whenever I drove on this road, getting closer to my destination, my anticipation and excitement grew. I felt as if I were being drawn into a tunnel that ushered me into Paul’s mysterious world. Like a magician, Paul orchestrated our encounters. I never knew what fabulous objects I might see or which ones he’d make available. He seldom showed me everything he had; instead he presented a few choice artifacts while he kept others hidden away to dazzle me at a later time. If that weren’t enough, Paul’s wife Peggy would consistently serve us delicious meals that made me feel welcome and part of the family...

François Raty

François Raty

Collector
Belgium

For more than fifteen years, African art devotee François Raty, a physician in Liège, has been collecting African pipes and pipe bowls. He currently has over 500 examples. The collection includes representation from almost everywhere in subSaharan Africa. The collection is unique, fascinating not only in its diversity of forms and materials, but also in its iconography and the sculptural quality of the pieces within it...

J. Richard Simon

J. Richard Simon - Tribute

Collector
United States

"“IT IS NOTEWORTHY,” writes Dr. Rowland Abiodun, “that the Yorùbá always refer to dead twins as ‘having traveled’ and never as ‘dead.’” The reference immediately evokes the way in which death in Africa and many other parts of the world sets the stage for prolonged movement and interaction, rather than stasis, and helps to explain its role as a means for artistic creation. In this particular case, travel has everything to do with the eternal aspect of the Yoruba twin spirit as an orisa, or divine spirit. With the passing of Dr. J. Richard Simon last spring and the bequest of his ere ibeji collection to the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, I take some comfort in the notion that Dick (as he preferred to be called) surely knew this about his collection and delighted in the way that giving (or traveling) it ensured a living legacy—not simply his own legacy as a serious art collector with impeccable taste (which happens to be true), but the legacy of sustained interactions with the objects in his collection through exhibitions and programs at the Stanley Museum of Art."
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