African Art from the Pincham Collection

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Chicago State University Library is pleased to display items from the collection of the Kwame Nkrumah Academy in Chicago. These objects form part of a large collection gathered by Judge R. Eugene Pincham.

Select all displayed African items, or select artifacts by country: Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, or Zimbabwe.

Amai, headArt of the Shona People Shona art is associated with Zimbabwe, though many artists there are not native to Zimbabwe. Settlers and migrants in the area now called Zimbabwe have a long history.

Art has shown a high degree of ancient skill there from the San cultures (Bushmen, San, Sho, Barwa, Kung, Khwe) through paintings in Zimbabwean cultural sites.

Art of EgyptArt of Egypt This civilization brings from the past its rigid code of art. Ancient elaborate objects show a gridlike construction with higher-placed objects representing more distant objects. Perspective as later used, is rare—even aberrant.

Modern Egyptian artists continue the rich tradition and incorporate digital art in very skillful Internet related forms.

The very old mingles with the very very new in Egyptian art.

Art of West Africa: Bamileke Horns, CameroonArt of West Africa In the Ivory Coast masks confer upon their wearers the attributes of the representation. Deities, animals, and even the departed are caricatured in carved wooden dance masks.

In Dakar, Senegal, recuperative art from recycled materials are famous. Vibrant and decorative canvasses from modern Artists evoke forms and patterns, and are created from locally woven fabrics to embody urge to three-dimensionality.

Cameroon, with the Bamiléké emphasis on ceremony and status in art, is rich in royal and ceremonial objects. The Cameroon grassfields, home of ancient kingdoms, contain renowned artworks—bead-ornamented thrones, wooden figures, fabulous masks, enormous drums, and finely carved jewellery of ivory and brass.

The many West African cultures showcase terra cotta masks, masks of wood and metal, statues—often power figures of royalty—naturalism, nature, and man’s struggle.

Pincham collection of art objectsAll African art objects African art shows perhaps the most diverse legacy in all of art. Because there are many exceptions, describing the art of Africa in few words is futile. Self-similarity (whether fractal or dynamically symmetrical) is evident in many designs. Love of performance art and the luminous human form shows in the preference by artists of three-dimensional objects, which are usually abracted presentations of balance and vitality.