Our 27 African Art Acquisitions & My Final Thoughts on the Trip…

See part 1, part 2, and part 3 in the series documenting our trip to West Africa in July…

April’s been home now for several weeks, but I’m only just now ready for this final wrap-up post about our trip. It took some time to prepare our new shelves and to set up our art, books, and movies. But now I’m ready to present our findings, most of which April acquired after I flew home from Nigeria and she continued on for a number of weeks into Togo, Benin, and finally Ghana. My post yesterday regarding Camille Paglia’s books linking ancient tribal Paganism with today’s art and popular culture are relevant to the points of this piece — the line between religious icon and art object is often in the eye of the beholder…

First, a mask from Ghana, with two sand paintings from Goree Island in Senegal. Our comedy DVD shelf sits above them:

Two heads from Benin, in between shelves of April’s art books, these also possess two Goree Island sand paintings, one on each side:

Two “fetish figures” April found in Togo. These are akin to Voodoo dolls and they’re already filled with nails reminiscent of Pinhead. They’re probably the creepiest in the collection:

The four “maternity figures” from the Asante Kingdom in Ghana look gorgeous:

Here’s how April chose to arrange her artwork amidst her books:

Here’s one of the four “lazy chairs” we acquired in Senegal, and one of the three folding mini tables from Nigeria. A number of my graphic novels, oversized books, and DVD boxsets are in the background, with The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition still awaiting some focused reading:

Here’s a downward shot of one of the bigger lazy chairs, another Nigerian folding chair, and of course, everyone’s favorite Siberian Husky:

Here’s the other larger lazy chair and the third folding table, in April’s art studio by the fireplace:

Here’s how the smaller lazy chair looks when divided into its two pieces, and also a close-up of the carving:

And finally, the whole trip I’d had my eye out for a new ankh. April assured me that none would likely be found until she reached Ghana. She was right:

Some Final Reflections on the Africa Trip…

I had a blast on the trip. By and large the accommodations were comfortable, the food was tasty, the people friendly, polite, and often with a lively sense of humor. Of the countries we visited Senegal made the strongest emotional impact and I definitely want to go back soon. In particular I’d like to visit Touba, the center of Senegal’s Sufi Mouride brotherhood.

Nigeria is a bit rougher of an experience than Senegal — it’s more of a lawless “wild West” in some ways where one needs to be on guard much of the time — but I would still like to go back and learn more about the cultures and different tribes there too. And the United Arab Emirates I only got to experience in brief during layovers, but I’ve grown fascinated by that country too and its ability to balance a pro-Western sensibility and cultural tolerance with pious Islamic belief and culture.

Overall, the trip fueled my interest in Africa and desire to explore other countries and cultures within it. While I’d like to get back to West Africa, the Eastern countries are also on my agenda too. Comparing and contrasting the different experiences and cultures from country to country is exciting and a practice I’d like to continue. I’m also intrigued to learn more about Africa’s literature and genre fiction too. At a book store in Nigeria I perused some of their popular crime novels and saw the potential. Maybe future African excursions can be specifically about meeting and recruiting some exciting writers…


Addendum, I forgot to include six more art objects acquired. How could I forget about these little guys?!

BTW these last two I decided to pass along to our artist friend Parker who house-sat and Maura-sat for us while we were gone. He’s a sculptor who creates extraordinary work by combining found objects with a colorful drip process and I urged him to use them in one of his works.

Author: David Swindle

Editor, writer, activist.

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