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Rare 20th C. African Nigerian Aluminum Antelope

Africa, Nigeria, ca. mid 20th century CE. A lively sculpture of a standing antelope, created from aluminum sheets gathered from crashed aircraft that have been pierce, incised, detailed in repousse for texture, and skillfully modeled to represent this animal. Additional features including pointed ears, hemispheric copper eyes, an erect penis, and a long tail have been added and make for wonderful character. Antelopes are greatly respected in Africa, and many tribes create masks that represent antelopes which traditionally symbolize a healthy harvest; some even believe that the antelope had the ability to teach humans the secrets to a successful harvest. Breathing new life into cast off materials is a practice of several well-known contemporary African artists, the most famous being internationally recognized Ghanaian artist El Anatsui who is beloved for his colossal yet elegant sculptures comprised of thousands of pieces of metal, bottle caps, and/or other recycled materials. Size: 20.375" L x 16.75" H (51.8 cm x 42.5 cm)

Other African artists who take this approach include Mbongeni Butthelezi of South Africa who has created magnificent figural works using discarded plastic and a glue gun, the Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou who has used colorful plastic bags to create enormous pieces that prompt discussions about global consumption and identity, Patrick Mulondo of Uganda who uses scrap metal to create sculpture, the East African artist Elias Sime who creates collages and sculptures from buttons, thread, plastic, fabric, and bottle caps, and Sadika Keskes of Tunisia who uses recycled glass for her pieces which are devoted to a revival of blown glass, a long forgotten artform that originated during the 14th century in Tunisia.

Condition: Only minor wear and tarnish, generally excellent. A few nails securing hind leg coverings are missing, but this could easily be remedied.

Provenance: private Omer Claiborne collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, acquired over the last 40 years

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