Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Attic discovery on display at Expressions Whirinaki

MINKISI

Magic, mystic or just scary?

Attic discovery on display at Expressions Whirinaki


A dramatic exhibition of over 70 African masks and statues from West and Central Africa opened at Expressions Whirinaki this month.

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal these objects challenge our ideas about art, tradition, and culture. The works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the emphasis on figures from the lower Congo.

The exhibition is created from a collection of West and Central African statues and masks owned by Whanganui collector Desmond Bovey. The nucleus of the collection was assembled by Frenchman Paul Le Lay, who from 1946 to 1959 was posted in all of the capitals of French territories in Africa. After Le Lay’s death his collection languished in an attic in Burgundy. Years later it was recovered by his son-in-law, Desmond Bovey, a New Zealander who worked in France as an Art Director and illustrator. During his 30 years in France, Bovey’s fascination for these objects grew. Back in New Zealand, it is Bovey’s wish that these objects, so little understood, and the unknown artists who made them, be accessible to a wider audience. His knowledge and passion for African cultures provide the region with a unique opportunity to explore another culture.

Minkisi is a word that refers to statues that hold a spirit, or which embody a purpose meant for the good of an individual or group of people. The pieces are dramatic and intriguing, inviting us to explore the creativity of different cultures. Despite how confrontational they look, Minkisi are designed to be protectors and the objects in this exhibition have been decommissioned before leaving Africa. In many African societies a mask or statue can outlive its magic. This is especially true for the baKongo and their Minkisi. If a statue is considered to have lost its spirit or power, it is abandoned to the weather and termites, or sold. If sold, works that have a religious function are de-consecrated.

Bovey comments that the exhibition’s aim is to ‘introduce unfamiliar cultures and aesthetic values to antipodean audiences. Minkisi works on several levels; while most of us respond to the immediate visual impact of these exotic and powerful objects, a curious visitor is inevitably sensitive to a deeper spiritual dimension.’ With this in mind, brief texts are provided for each object, enabling greater insight into its function and meaning.

Curator Chris Doherty-McGregor has been amazed by the response to the exhibition. “People are spending along time in the space. There is a lot to take in and objects that you rarely see. Many people are commenting that the number and depth of works are beyond anything seen before”.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

“Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

ALSO:

Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news