Africa, Arts and Cultures

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John Mack
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Art - 224 pages
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The British Museum boasts one of the finest collections of African art in the world. In Africa: Arts & Cultures, John Mack and an international team of artists and scholars draw on this world-famous collection to take us on a beautifully illustrated tour of African art and the various cultures that created it.
Readers expecting the masks and wooden figures commonly collected a century ago will be surprised by the wide variety of art forms covered here, from a Tunisian wedding tunic, to a water bottle of ostrich eggshell from the San in southern Africa, to a multimedia monoprint made by a Nigerian artist in 1999. Moreover, in a rare departure, the book covers the art of all five regions of Africa, including Saharan Africa, with each geographical section introduced by a British Museum curator who provides historical and cultural context for the art from that region. But most important, this is a book of many voices. The art carries the voices of artists, ancient and modern, looking into their own culture and also out into the world around them. Commentaries on the art are written by historians, anthropologists, curators, artists--both insiders and outsiders whose breadth of experience dismantles easy notions of "Africanness." Above all, there are African voices: African artists comment on their own work and that of the past; and scholars from African universities shed light on the objects of their specialty.
By presenting art from across the continent, past and present, coupled with astute commentary by a worldwide cross-section of artists and scholars, Africa: Arts & Cultures offers an innovative approach that allows the reader to better appreciate African art in its totality.

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Africa: arts and cultures

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Using selected objects from the British Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of African art, this volume offers an introduction to both traditional and contemporary works ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

John Mack is Keeper of the Ethnography Department at the British Museum and a Visiting Professor in the Anthropology Department at University College London.

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