This is an illustrated study of African traditional figurative arts that reflects the continents rich artistic and cultural heritage. We often know the Western life of African art, such as the names of collectors and owners, but we almost always ignore the circumstances of their creation, the formal innovations introduced by the creators of the works and even of the makers existence. The marvellous achievements of African artists over thousands of years are revealed in this book. Sculpture is the chief means through which African artists expressed themselves. The human figure, evocative of real or symbolic key people in the community or entities facilitating contact with the supernatural, is the almost exclusive subject of their creations. This vast world of African sculpture is the result of a evolutionary process, based on a rich history and diversity deriving from contacts, migrations, wars and alliances. During the last century, the African continent has experienced radical transformations in the field of social and political organisation, economy and religion.
Inevitably, new expressive forms are being established hand in hand with the globalisation process and the creation of works for the art market, which retain less and less ties with those of the past.