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Female Nkisi - 1

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Comment by Resident Curator on March 31, 2013 at 6:15pm

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This Nkisi, or spirit inspired piece, appears to derive its primary form from traditional African fetish of the same name.  But it has a decidedly contemporary edge in the more economic use of materials and angular geometric lines.  I like the contrasting tilt of the head against the arced body and bent legs, giving the sculpture slight movement.  I see the inclusion of the small figure within the larger female as a direct reference to fertility, but I additionally appreciate the juxtaposition of scale within the figure.  The tiny interior figure is compact and self-contained with customary hammered nails, whereas the ‘mother’ form not only envelops the smaller, but protects with sharply protruding spines.  Guardian 2 and 3 are wonderful sculptures, though I would have liked to see the bases of the pieces, and how they interact with their ground or support. The brassy gold surface coloration is rich and exerts an appearance of preciousness, despite the heavier mass of the helmet shaped mask and abraded torso section. While scale isn’t indicated, these works could exert a monumental or assertive presence as personal totems, or function as smaller idols. They have a captivating formal aesthetic, and innovative manipulation of an ancient craft.

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