Tradition and Modernity in Tanzanian Sculpture

by Manfred EwelAnne Outwater

This beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated book addresses the huge imbalance in appreciation and representation of African art. Museums, exhibitions, lavish catalogues, magazines, and publications on African art are largely dominated by non-African scholars and institutions. These imbalances lie in the economic and political discrepancies, the history of European colonialism in Africa, and the Western tradition of scholarship and public education on art, history and ethnography.

Outside Africa, East African art has been assumed to be more or less non-existent. This is one of the few publications to have come out of Tanzania, bearing witness to the appreciation of sculptural art and its tradition in that country. The book arose out of a symposium on The Significance of Traditional Cultures for Today’s Society which brought together Tanzanian and other experts organised by the National Museums of Tanzania and the German Cultural Centre in Dar es Salaam. Papers from that symposium, together with additional articles on the history and current state of sculpture in Tanzania, present art from an African perspective, and include contributions from Western scholars joining forces with African scholars.

Sociological, ethnological and art historical approaches are included, illustrating sculpture as the prime example of fine art in Africa, both in its purely aesthetic sense and intricately linked with its ever changing cultural context.


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