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Ajouré  

Gordon Campbell

French term for openwork, used in the decorative arts principally with reference to metalwork, bookbinding and heraldry. In metalwork, it denotes the piercing or perforation of sheet metal, a practice found as early as the ancient Egyptian period. In bookbinding, the term ajouré binding refers to a style that emerged in late 15th-century Venice in which bindings were embellished with pierced or translucent patterns, typically open designs of foliage. In heraldry, an ...

Article

J. M. Rogers

Arab metalworker. He is known from signatures on two undated inlaid wares, the Baptistère de St Louis (Paris, Louvre, LP 16, signed in six places) and the Vasselot Bowl (Paris, Louvre, MAO 331, signed once). His style is characterized by bold compositions of large figures encrusted with silver plaques on which details are elaborately chased. His repertory develops themes characteristic of later 13th-century metalwork from Mosul (...

Article

Lisa M. Binder

Ghanaian sculptor, active in Nigeria. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sculpture (1968) and a postgraduate diploma in art education from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1969). After graduation he taught at the Specialist Training College (now University of Winneba), Ghana, in a position vacated by the eminent sculptor Vincent Kofi. From ...

Article

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 11 November 1968, in Lomé.

Painter (mixed media).

A self-taught artist, Tetevi Azankpo works with recycled materials such as rusting receptacles, lengths of metal wire and rubber to produce fantasy figurines.

He has exhibited at group exhibitions, among them ...

Article

Paula Girshick Ben-Amos

Kingdom in Edo (formerly Bendel) State, southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. Although the kingdom, the city and its art have become known to the world under the name Benin, the people of Benin call themselves, their kingdom, their city and their language Edo. The kingdom and city of Benin should not be confused with the geographically distinct country of ...

Article

South African, 20th century, female.

Active in Canada from 1969.

Born 17 September 1936, in Piet Retief, South Africa.

Engraver (etching/aquatint), screen printer, watercolourist, photographer.

Jennifer Dickson studied at Goldsmiths in London and from 1961 to 1965 at the Atelier 17 engraving studio in Paris run by S.W. Hayter. She later spent time in Jamaica and the USA. In Canada she worked both as an artist and teacher. She was elected a member of the Royal Academy in London in ...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, female.

Active from 1925 in France.

Born 24 April 1907, in Alexandria; died 1 March 1986.

Sculptor, medallist.

Daria Gamsaragan went to France to study sculpture, settling there in 1925. She entered the academy of La Grande Chaumière and became a pupil of Bourdelle. She also worked with Csaky and Constant. From ...

Article

Shannen Hill

South African painter and printmaker of English birth. He earned an Arts and Crafts Certificate at Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1951 and a National Diploma in Design in 1953, the same year in which he emigrated to South Africa. Considered one of the country’s greatest painters, his works are in many national collections and have been exhibited internationally. His best known work explores the the human condition sardonically, depicting people as self-concerned, lacking conscience and infinitely unaware of their own fallibility. Richly painted, his pieces consistently convey a paradox between beauty and grotesqueness. Alfred Jarry’s play ...

Article

Thurstan Shaw

Town in Nigeria (pop. c. 15,000 in the 1990s), situated 40 km south-east of Onitsha, which is on the River Niger. The name means ‘Great Igbo’ in the Igbo language. It is also the name given to the ancient culture that produced the elaborate metalwork and ceramics, dated to the 10th century ...

Article

Stephan Welz

South African silversmith of German birth. Evidence suggests that he worked in the Netherlands for a period before moving to the Cape, in the service of the Dutch East India Company, arriving on 30 December 1733. He set up business on his own on 4 October 1735...

Article

Stephan Welz

South African silversmith of German birth. In 1768 he arrived at Cape Town, where he worked as sword-cutler in the service of the Dutch East India Company until 1778. The following year he started his own business. He was the most accomplished of the Cape silversmiths and the first to introduce the ...

Article

Stephen K. Scher

Italian medallist and sculptor. He was trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Palermo (1918–19), and in Rome, at the Accademia di Belle Arti (1920–25) and at the Scuola d’Arte della Medaglia (1920–23). He taught sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo from ...

Article

Shona  

William J. Dewey

Bantu-speaking people numbering c. 9 million, living mainly in Zimbabwe with a smaller population living in Mozambique. Historically, the people known as Shona identified themselves by either dialect or political names: the five main dialect clusters, Korekore, Zezuru, Manyika, Ndau and Karanga are all mutually intelligible; it was not until the late 19th century that they became known as the Shona. Their neighbours to the north and north-east are the Tonga (Tonka), Chikunda, Sena and Barwe. To the south-east are the Hlengwe and Tsonga (Shangane), and to the south are the Venda. The ...

Article

Andrew Cross and Mary Chou

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in ...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Stephan Welz

English silversmith, active in South Africa. After qualifying as a clock- and watchmaker, in 1818 he left for the Cape, where he became the most prolific and best-known 19th-century silversmith. Within three weeks of his arrival in Cape Town he opened a shop, and a year later he was advertising for craftsmen and apprentices in the silver and jewellery trade. Within four years Twentyman had established himself as the leading silversmith at the Cape, receiving commissions from the governor, churches and leading citizens. He made a number of presentation vases, all in the prevailing English style, and many small pieces such as snuff-boxes, christening cups, beakers and flatware of varying quality. An astute businessman, he imported large quantities of plated ware, which ultimately led to the death of the silversmith’s craft at the Cape. Twentyman returned to England in ...