Africa, a continent bursting with cultural diversity and influences, enchants art enthusiasts from around the globe because of its ancient traditions and contemporary expressions. These showcase various themes and media that reflect its rich heritage and historical significance. The diverse culture and traditions of over 2,000 ethnic groups have produced essential intricate pieces of woodcarvings, beadwork, and other artistic practices that are recognized and celebrated for generations.
Here are three points to highlight and give you a glimpse of the vibrant African Artistic Landscape:
Traditional and Indigenous Materials
African art pieces often use culturally significant natural materials like wood, clay, stone, ivory, beads, and fabrics that preserve indigenous artistry and reflect diverse heritage.
Symbolism and Narrative
African art and its symbolic language convey cultural beliefs, spiritual concepts, and personal stories that explore spirituality, ancestral reverence, and the interconnectedness of humans and nature.
Contemporary Influences and Global Dialogues
African art incorporates contemporary themes and materials to address current issues and global trends. Artists use various media to bridge past and present while maintaining unique African perspectives.
The African Artistic Landscape is a visual language that transmits knowledge, traditions, and religious beliefs from generation to generation. As it embodies the cultural diversity and influences that shape the continent, African art opens a window into a vibrant and multifaceted artistic landscape where contemporary expressions give way to push boundaries and engage with pressing issues. And to explore their creative landscape and its legacy is to be enlightened to its cultural importance.
Collecting vintage watches is a passion for many individuals as they offer a glimpse into the past and a chance to own a piece of timekeeping history. Whether you are a seasoned watch collector or just starting, this guide to collecting will provide you with the knowledge and tips to navigate the world of vintage watches.
A watch tends to be considered vintage when it is at least 20-30 years old. It may become sought after for its unique design, craftsmanship, and historical significance or due to its limited production, a rare movement, or a watch associated with a particular era.
Three reasons to collect vintage watches:
Watch collecting is like holding a piece of history on your wrist. They carry with them: unique stories, heritage, and even prestige – whether for a watch passed down through generations of a family or worn by a distinguished gentleman, each has a tale to tell. Vintage watches are also a mark of significant horological achievement, showcasing the genius of the watchmakers enduring through the test of time and proving that great designs are timeless.
Rarity is the name of the game with vintage timepieces, and owning one that is rare is like striking gold. There is something unique about vintage watches produced in limited quantities or collectors who seek them out. But rarity is not just about not worrying about someone else showing up wearing the same thing as you; it is mostly about investment. In the long run, vintage watches will only increase in value as they become limited. So not only do you get to enjoy a piece of history, but a valuable asset on your wrist.
Vintage watches offer a level of style that modern counterparts cannot replicate. With various designs, materials, and movements, vintage watches allow you to express your individuality in a sophisticated and timeless way. Whether you prefer a classic dress watch or a bold sports watch, vintage timepieces offer a range of styles that suit your taste. And the best part? Vintage watches have already stood the test of time. Their style is not just a passing trend.
Now that you know why collecting vintage watches is in the rage, here are a few helpful tips to remember before starting your collection:
Research is key.
By far, this is the most important aspect of watch collecting. If you want a specific brand or model, try and learn everything about it. The small nuances can be the difference between getting a new addition to your collection or finding a fake one.
Condition, condition, condition!
Watch out for the condition of the watch, especially the case, dial and lume. These are crucial parts, and their conditions are essential factors in determining the overall value of a timepiece. Restoring these parts also tends to be expensive and difficult without compromising originality. From an investment perspective, restored watches tend to decrease in value more than their original counterpart.
Find a good dealer and retailer.
Authentic vintage watches have been commercially profitable for years, so it is no surprise that the watch market can be saturated with fakes. Beginner collectors should be extra discerning not to fall for counterfeits and should look for referenced and trustworthy dealers in buying their first piece.
In the end, collecting watches is for your enjoyment. You will definitely make mistakes along the way and might even change your preference twice or thrice in the process; it might even take a while to find the watches you love, so have fun and enjoy building your collection!
Giving gifts is just one of the little joys in life. It allows us to convey great feelings and sentiments we cannot put into words to our friends and loved ones and share their excitement and joy when receiving and unwrapping them. But the act of gift-giving is hit-and-miss. We might give someone a gift they do not particularly like or something inappropriate if we are not careful. Either way, gift-giving going wrong is an awkward or god-forbid embarrassing experience. But nothing is worse than showing up empty-handed! So let us make the case for giving art as a gift in all the seasons of giving in your life, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Here’s ARTIANA’s guide on why choosing art as a gift just makes sense:
1. Art is enduring. Meaningful and enduring are some of the qualities you want a gift to be. It may not be easy to leave a mark or leave a lasting impression, but gifting someone art is one of the easiest ways to make sure they are reminded of you every time they see it. Good art – of any kind – conveys sentiments and unspoken words of gratitude or love, not necessarily in the meaning of it but in the gesture of gifting it. Its longevity and durability also ensure a lifetime connection to the recipient.
2. Art is unique. Art has a specific purpose. Whatever reason an artist has for creating something is eccentric. Since the artwork is unique, it is the perfect choice to make someone feel special when they receive it, especially if the story behind the piece resonates with the recipient.
3. Art is personal and holds so much meaning for people, not only because of its essence intrinsically but also in the intimacy it conveys. Giving a well-thought-out gift, such as an art piece, displays a deep understanding of the person you are giving it to, their preference and how they make sense of the world. As each piece of art is unique, it is personal, like any other idea. Images, texture, color, and shape tell a story and can speak to us with emotion. There will be memories and nostalgia, making receiving it not only a physical experience but an emotional one too.
4. Art is a luxury. Art in our homes adds a luxurious feel to our surroundings and our homes, not just aesthetically but as a whole. To enjoy a magnificent piece of artwork every day – on your wall or your shelves – of something that speaks to your soul, or a slice of a history long-forgotten, or a magnum opus – is a luxurious experience in itself. It adds character, sophistication and culture to our dwellings while reflecting our inner worlds into our physical surroundings. Although it is not a necessity for existence, it is an addition that certainly gives life more beauty and substance.
5. Art is an investment. If you decide to spend your money on a great work of art as a gift, it is still an asset that will pay off in the long run. Apart from the sentimental value, art is a valuable financial asset, especially investment-grade art, with values that only increase with time. Precious artworks made centuries ago are worth a million today. Thus, gifting a select artwork can be financially rewarding for the recipient.
Choosing art for gifting helps tailor communication and better connection to special ones. Unlike any other gifts, giving a piece of art is more than just formalities. It comes with bundles of love that lasts a lifetime. Art nowadays might embrace various styles, subjects, and media, but its effects are strong, providing rich possibilities.
People have been collecting art for the past hundred years, so determining where a piece comes from is often a combination of tracking an artwork’s history and documentation.
Essentially, provenance is a record of ownership of a work of art used as a guide to determine its authenticity and quality. It establishes an artwork’s collectible significance and captures its ownership history all the way back to the artist’s studio.
But why is it so important for art collecting?
1. Establishing the ownership history Provenance provides an ownership record of an artwork which is a critical foundation for assessing its authenticity. It shows the overview of who a piece has belonged to and where it passed through over time, be it auction houses, galleries, dealers who sold it, and art exhibitions it was shown. Older works, especially those several hundred years old or older, are sometimes given a symbolic seal of approval through a provenance document.
2. Establish the authenticity Proving the authenticity of art based on provenance was previously seen as an infallible way to verify its authenticity. Now there is more than one way to establish it. However, collecting genuine works of art is easier with provenance. It’s history, even if accumulated for thousands of years, can help verify authenticity, provide buyers assurance and reduce risks in buying.
3. Valuation Verified provenance can prove the authenticity of a piece and increase its value tenfold, enhancing its collectible status and making it in demand and invaluable.
4. Determine the historical significance of an artwork An artwork with interesting provenance tells a story of how it changed hands through time, ideally from the artist to its current owner – which might place it in remarkable historical moments or hands of important and famous people. This adds story and gravitas to the pieces by giving them cultural and historical importance.
5. Guide collectors Knowing a piece of art’s provenance can help buyers determine which pieces are worth investing in. Failing to consider the relevance of provenance documents may cause disputes regarding ownership, authenticity, and value one day. Thus, even where authenticity is not currently an issue, an inaccurate or incomplete provenance could still give rise to a claim in the future. An impeccable provenance can be used to mitigate this risk.
Our jewellery department’s inaugural sale will feature fine jewellery encrusted with natural fancy color diamonds. With only 1 out of 10,000 diamonds being a natural fancy color diamond, these rare and unique diamonds are highly fashionable and very individualistic. The sale will also include an attractive array of wearable daytime jewels, gold accessories, and objects of virtu, both vintage and modern.
Art Beyond Borders is an eclectic sale comprising works by established and mid-career artists from Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia focused on the cross-pollination of art.
The auction will present a wide range of artworks from masters and leading artists from across the region including M. F. Husain, Sakti Burman, Maite Delteil, Ato Delaquis, Kofi Agorsor, Manu Parekh, Senaka Senanayake, and G. Ravinder Reddy among many others.
Sayed Haider Raza has stated, “sometime between 1975 and 1980, I began to feel the draw of my Indian heritage. I thought: I come from India, I have a different vision; I should incorporate what I have learned in France with Indian concepts. In this period, I visited India every year to study Indian philosophy, iconography, magic diagrams (yantras), an ancient Indian art, particularly Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain art. I was impressed by paintings from Basholi, Malwa, and Mewar, and began combining colors in a manner that echoed Indian miniature painting.” (Raza in conversation with Amrita Jhaveri, Sotheby’s Preview, March/April 2007, p.57).
Titled “Prakriti” or Nature, the painting reflects the artist’s lifelong commitment to depicting nature and its colors in his canvases. Evolving from his initial academic landscapes and abstracted expressionism on the same subject, Raza delved into the purest form of nature. Removing all inessential to attain the simplest interpretation.
He singularly used colors that naturally exist in the visible world, the primary palette of red, blue, yellow, white, and black to represent the fundamental elements in creation – fire, water, earth, sky, and air. To underscore his non-representative vocabulary and maintain the geometric symbolism that he adopted later in his career, Raza deploys the inverted triangle – symbolic of female sexuality and reproduction with the bindu – symbolic of the seed that bears the potential of new life. Depicted together, they represent the tree of life and the perpetual cycle of nature, of fertilization, germination, growth, reproduction, and ultimately death.
In the course of his lengthy career, Ram Kumar’s paintings gradually moved from figuration towards pure abstraction. His figurative landscapes came undone into swathes of colors, foregoing defined pictorial elements and slowly mutating to barely recognizable forms juxtaposed in an overlay of vertical and horizontal planes.
His unique visual vocabulary in painting landscapes was developed from treasured memory of scenery from his hometown and later his travels, as seen in the present work from the early 1980s. The works from these years are relatively flat in texture, with minimal build-up on the canvas. Although his landscapes were not realistic depictions of nature, “wedges of land and expanses of water; demarcations of land as arid and fertile; febrile rock and luxuriant vegetation; sunlight and shade; moisture; mist” are all communicated through his instinctive use of color. (R. Bartholomew, ‘The Abstract Principle in the Paintings of Ram Kumar’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 19 & 20, New Delhi, April – September 1975, p. 14.) Although his color palette ranging from browns, ochres, and yellows was limited during this time, “they derive their significance from their tonal subtleties, the tensions they create in passing from one tone to another.” (J. Swaminathan, ‘Ram Kumar – A New Stage’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 40, New Delhi, March 1995, p. 42.)
The nude has been a recurring theme in Akbar Padamsee‘s work starting from the 1950s. The stylistic evolution from the sharply defined figures to the almost abstracted figures of his later compositions on the subject provides a fascinating insight into the development of his visual language and creative process of the prominent artist.
Throughout his career, the artist has been enthralled with mapping the human form and capturing its emotive qualities using portraits and heads to experiment. His portraitures, however, are portrayed vaguely with a deep focus on the construction of the form rather than in the details of representation. In the picture, the central character is portrayed in a hazy dream-like scenario, almost as if the viewer is intruding into a private moment. The bold red color of the background juxtaposed with the nude sets the emotive tone in the image while the ingenious use of texture gives the body sculptural presence and dimensionality.
Clearly, Padamsee’s artistic concerns do not lie in the realist depiction but instead on the overall structure of the picture. Curiously, despite the detached treatment of the theme, Padamsee was able to maintain a sense of sensitivity to the lived experience of his subjects.
‘Sensitivity to the human presence has been Akbar Padamsee’s obsession, inspiration, and purpose of his art. Direct in a nearly-tactile way, but also sublimated and universalized, his heads and nudes initially exude a feeling of almost real persons. Gradually, however, they reveal themselves as distanced and generalized. Sometimes strong, even harsh in their impact, and sometimes indistinct and ethereal. Padamsee’s images are never portraits of identifiable people. In fact, they resemble a residual vision after an encounter. An aura is left by a presence transposed in the memory. They come through like quick notations of transitory meetings, the heads and bodies deeply attuned to what is experienced within them, while also absorbing the proximity of their surroundings, especially other human presences. The background becomes a part of the human situation imprinting it character and compulsions on people, and in turn, being influenced by them – the process both violent and soothing.’ (Marta Jakimowicz, Tracing Shadows of the Sublime, Akbar Padamsee Works on Paper – Critical Boundaries, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2004).