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African Dream Machines: Style, Identity and Meaning of African Headrests

African Dream Machines: Style, Identity and Meaning of African Headrests (Paperback)

£40.50
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Synopsis

African headrests have been moved out of the category of functional objects and into the more rarefied category of 'art' objects. Styles in African headrests are usually defined in terms of western art and archaeological discourses, but this book interrogates these definitions of style through a case study of headrests of the 'Tellem' of Mali."African Dream Machines" questions the assumed one-to-one relationship between formal styles and ethnic identities or classifications.The notion of 'authenticity' as a fixed value in relation to African art is de-stabilised, while historical factors are used to demonstrate that 'authenticity', in the form sought by collectors of antique African art, is largely a construct, which has no basis in historical reality.The final chapter seeks to understand the significance of African headrests in relation to a number of different perspectives: the western fascination with the headrest as a synecdoche for "otherness"; their iconography in terms of subject matter (human and animal figures); and the ways in which headrests are used as support to the head of a sleeping person.Each of the many headrests discussed is illustrated in a drawing by the author.

Architecture & DesignArchitectureArt, Fashion & PhotographyArt monographs, history & theoryHistory of art / art & design stylesArt styles not defined by datePhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesInterdisciplinary studiesRegional studies Publisher: Wits University Press Publication Date: 01/03/2008 ISBN-13: 9781868144587  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Anitra Nettelton is a Professor in the Wits School of Arts, Johannesburg. This manuscript was awarded the University Research Committee Publication Award in 2006.

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