At the turn of the twentieth century, in particular Gauguin, Picasso, Matisse and later the Surrealists, then others right up till the present day, Western artists have drawn on the arts of Africa for inspiration. How can this constant impact ever be measured?
The same is true for the arts in Africa. Every sculpture carries within it the heritage of a people, culture and artistic tradition in the originality of its forms. West Africa, Central Africa and East Africa each has its own set of characteristics, within which the variety of the sculptures - always similar yet also always different - demonstrates the creativity of the ethnic group that created it.
This book presents a remarkable collection amassed by a knowledgeable and impassioned art lover that combines sensitivity with quality - a quality of forms meticulously selected among different African cultures. It includes masks and reliquaries carved in Gabon, effigies and statuettes from Congo-Brazzaville and Congo-Kinshasa, and astonishing objects from West Africa, from Mali to Cameroon, the Koro and Mossi peoples, the Ejagham and Ekoi in Nigeria and
the Gouro in the Ivory Coast. An extraordinary collection of artistic forms that well merits its place in the universal patrimony of art.
Francois Neyt is an emeritus professor at the Catholic University of Louvain who has also taught at the Official University of the Congo. A Benedictine monk, he was president of the Alliance Inter Monasteres that associates more than 450 communities around the world; he is also an emeritus member of the Academie Royale des Sciences d'Outre-Mer of Belgium. He has published many books on African arts, such as La grande statuaire Hemba du Zaire, 1977; Arts traditionnels et Histoire au Zaire, 1981; Luba. Aux sources du Zaire, 1993; La redoutable statuaire songye d'Afrique centrale, 2009; Fleuve Congo, 2010; Fetiches et objets ancestraux, 2013; Tresors de Cote d'Ivoire, 2014. He has also curated several exhibitions: at the Musee Dapper in Paris, 1993; the Ethnografisch Museum in Antwerp, 1994; and in Sao Paulo in Brazil, 2000. More recently, the exhibition River Congo, which he curated at the Musee Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac in Paris in 2010, has also travelled to Shanghai, Seoul, Mexico City, and Moscow (Pushkin State Museum). Hughes Dubois is a photographer who specialises in art objects.