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Olowe Of Ise Essay

1537 words - 7 pages

Olowe of Ise
“It is insufficiently understood that a museums power lies not in the possession of objects and collections, but in the acceptance of its authority to name them by both label and context. This is the most jealously guarded divine right of the museum as the curator of soi-disant public collections” – Duncan F. Cameron. Duncan F. Cameron served as a museum curator and director in the Brooklyn Museum in the New York City Borough of Brooklyn, the second largest museum in New York City and one of the largest in the United States. Duncan served in the museum from 1971-1974. An artist once told me, “Art is in the eyes of the beholder” – anonymous. It’s a statement with a broad ...view middle of the document...

Nowadays, museums have hidden screen with integrated programming so that students are exposed to educational materials gallery with the assistance of educators. Petridis is a vital example of what a museum curator or I do in museums to help communicate with people.
The art I would emphasize on is the wood carvings done by Olowe of Ise of Nigeria. Olowe was born about 1875 in Efon-Alaiyee, a town in eastern yorubaland that was once a kingdom and important center of Yoruba art. The details of his early life and training in sculpture are not globally known but are known to the people of Efon-Alaiye. His descendants claim he was self-taught. Eventually he became a master artist at the Arinjale’s (Kings) palace, and so his fame grew, other king’s and wealthy families commissioned him to carve sculptures, masks, drums and other objects for their palaces and homes. Olowe was an innovative and virtuosic, even daring, artistries demonstrated in his sculptures. I will be explaining on three of his artwork, “The Olumeye Bowl”, “Veranda Post with mounted Hunter”, “Veranda Post of Enthroned King”. These three artworks have similarities with symbolic emphasis that would be explained as we go through all three of them.
“The Olumeye Bowl” Is in the National Museum of African art, Washington D.C. Olowe explores the innovativeness and ingenuity in the work of this art. This exhibition features a kneeling female figure with bowl, called an “Olumeye”. The Olumeye are known to be used to hold kolanuts as offerings of hospitality which were offered to visitors as a sign of welcome and fellowship or friendship. The lady kneeling symbolizes respect, devotion and submission. The Bird in the sculpture symbolizes prosperity and honor during a sacrifice. This artwork is one that usually portrays a woman offering the olumeye during a burial or as a welcoming ceremony to visitors. The image of four dancing girls on lid is a main representation of Yoruba art. He also depicted nude males, of who are kneeling, on this bowl. Such rendering were exceptional and also raised challenges to the Yoruba canon. The head can be moved within the “cage” formed by the male and female figures, it cannot be removed. The cage is formed by the males and females holding the bowl below.
The second artwork is the, “Veranda Post with Mounted hunter”. This was done before 1938. In Yoruba art, figures on horseback usually or most times represent kings, warriors and hunters. In this artwork, a mounted warriors head is emphasized with prominent eyes and beard. Features such as the warriors vest, the saddle and the muzzle of the diminutive horse are articulated through a deeply carved and textured surface of linear motifs. While the top portion of the composition is compressed, the bottom half creates a greater feeling of openness. The lower tier features- a female and male who are portrayed as the wife and son respectively. This juxtaposing of levels is further accentuated by the manner in which...

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