The intertwinement of life and provenance.

A piece of art with a fascinating story can be sold for a staggering $100 millions… Phew!!!

This dawn on me as I recently won tickets to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I decided to do some ‘digging’ – digging for art treasures!

I have always wondered why art works at auction houses such as Sotheby’s can be sold for a cool $100,000,000.00 or more.

Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice) Image result for Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)

Image result for african original sculpture Image result for african original sculptureImage result for expensive african art

More importantly, why would anyone spend such an amount on a piece crafted, painted, sculpted or drawn in a dinghy workshop some 500 years ago.

I realised that this happenstance is due to the laws of scarcity, perhaps only a few of this works were commissioned by the ‘landed gentry’ or royals of the past. Perhaps, only few survived the wars and looting of such artefacts in the pasts. My fascination is that art has always been valuable throughout the ages and hence the very rich bourgeois and powerful have always seek to acquire those unique pieces of arts and antiquities to add to their collections.

This led me to discover the meaning of the word provenance. In regards to arts, it is the record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.

Provenance allows us to see (to value) things differently when we hear the story behind the art, or the painting or who has had ownership of such a vintage piece of art in the past. This allows the value to change in our minds. An authentic story with provenance is what changes the value of a piece of art or a family heirloom.

Authenticity, stories, dynasty connectivity, royal ownership and historical timelines are the ingredients for the reasons why the handiworks of the long-forgotten artist such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso can be sold for millions, and millions of dollars over a mobile device, bought by new money from Asia or North America.

A piece of porcelain such as below makes time travel possible by understanding the genesis of a piece of handiwork. It helps to connect to the histories, cultures and adventures of the past years or centuries.

Image result for most expensive porcelain

Photo of Samson Slaying a Philistine, Giambologna, 1560-1562, Italy. Museum no. A.7-1954. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London Photo of ‘The Miraculous Draught of Fishes’, Raphael, 1515 – 16. On loan from HM Queen Elizabeth II; rcin 912944, (Luke 5:1-11)

Provenance also intertwined with our lives as individuals, by alluding to what value we place on our own history and heritage. Our true authenticity must be brought to the surface for us to be valued as we rightly should.

Image result for african art

Related image Image result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge

Related image Related imageRelated imageImage result for nigerian sculpture at cambridge Image result for africa most expensive painting Related image  In the Desert (Watercolour)

I am looking forward to visiting the V&A Museum over the summer, it’s been ages since I visited such an institution.

Have a nice weekend…

https://www.vam.ac.uk/

 

 

 

It takes a village to raise a child – an African proverb

This proverb implies that when a child is born, the entire community bears the responsibilities towards the upbringing and rearing of the child. They will ensure that he or she is equipped with the norms, traditions and customs of the land. The name given to the child will be in accordance with the family profession or line of work such as if they were goldsmiths, warriors, hunters or royalty.

The tribal marks below signifies the family edicts and origins of the tribes. In traditional Yoruba societies, every child is born into a patrilineal clan called idile baba in Yoruba language. The clan share clan names (orile), oriki (poetry), taboos (eewo) and facial marks (ila). The facial marks on the child assigns the child full clan membership rights. The children with facial marks are called Okola. Families or individuals lacking the normal features consistent with the tribe are not considered as acquiring full standing as agents in Yoruba society. They would also lack the capacity for meaningful behavior, such as greeting, stating and commanding.

Image result for african tribal marks Related image Related image

I must now say that these practices have now largely ceased in accordance with Child Rights Law across the land (a ban I totally support).

I sighed heavily though because now in the modern era, a lot of this precepts that gave us ‘true identity’ has now been eroded largely in part by colonialism and the unfortunate transatlantic voyages did untold and irreversible damages.

This brings me to the issue of immigration. Migrating from one part of the globe to another is what the world was built upon. People across centuries have always fled to various parts because of religious intolerance and persecutions, wars and conflicts. Some migrated because of trade in spices and commodities (such as the Silk Road), others fled because of natural phenomenon such as adverse weathers, rising sea levels, earthquakes and so on.

Humans like other species have constantly been on the move. We ‘humans’ are not created to be stagnant, we are ‘moving’ beings. Hence, it will be helpful to bear this in mind over this contentious immigrants debates in the West. Perhaps, we must ask ourselves, what role did our ancestors or (nature) play that has now resulted in having someone of different breed and colour has your neighbour, doctor, accountant or even as a lover!

The crust of my observations is that in light of modernity and enlightenment, we must hold on to the practices and customs that gave us our true meaning as a race, or culture. An example is that here in the west, there is the concept of ‘live and let live‘ – an idiom expressing the ideal of allowing each other to live their lives as each sees fit. However, sometimes this does not ring true in some cultures hence the reason for lack of assimilation and integrations in some communities.

Image result for live and let live

As an African (plus a Brit I must say), I get frustrated when I see some (and I say some in terms of few) African descents not living to the ideals of their proud origin. Frustratingly in the sense, that if we cannot correct or teach them to the norms of what is expected in fear of evading somebody space. This meant that for us as a community we have been rendered powerless in raising our children (and our neighbours children) for fear of retribution.

Image result for picture of an african village Image result for picture of an african village Image result for picture of an african village child

In drawing to a close, we must seek to respect everybody’s rights (old and young) equally, however that respects also infers correction where it is needed. It is our collective societies that looses out in the end, if we do not correct bad behaviours in our several communities be it in the black, white or Asian communities.

Finally, the best antidote to this looming immigration issues is partly economic developments and good governance in the affected countries. People will rather stay in their own land to be part of the growth story and live their lives in accordance to their beliefs.

Let me know if you have differing thoughts and contributions…

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

…Life goes on or should it? (4mins read)

Children’s lives have now been altered forever. The innocence that parents see in their offspring’s that sometimes make them to chuckle with silent pride and joy are now evaporating before their eyes.

Let me explain, the danger children encounters the world over are now truly global literally. In the years past, children in the West or in affluent economies or societies are shielded from the political and economic reality that children in other countries are exposed to on a daily basis.

Yes, you may say that children in the west are not exposed to child labour forcing them to work in an unregulated mine or in the plantation fields.

Yes, you may say children here are not being forcibly conscripted into a hidden militia in a despotic land or that they are not being put onto a dinghy boat to cross the rough waters of the Mediterranean Sea to safety and to seek refuge.

All of these are as a result of the politico-socio-economic failings in those countries, and children exposed to these elements are paying a huge price with their young lives.

Let me emphasize my point, the same politico-socio-economic assertions are impacting the lives of children negatively in the west as well, albeit differently. They are being impacted through the austere cuts to families and policing, security concerns; cyber-bullying…the lists goes on.

Children are no longer shielded from the impact of discrimination, intolerance and their ill-effects in their environments – they see it daily in the news, they hear it daily whilst playing innocently on the school playground. They see it planted on their mothers’ faces; they can hear it in the doubtful voices of the grannies and uncles. Oh no! The innocence has gone. CHILDREN HAVE BECOME ADULTS.

Our generation have let the youth down all over the world, as we have not taken enough responsibilities to confront the division in societies be it at home or abroad. We have done what we do best which is to transfer difficulties of our times to future generations. An example is the mortgaged-backed securities of the 2000s (2008 Financial Crisis), governments have borrowed to the hilt to avert those crises, only for the unborn to come into this world to pay it off.

What can we do individually and as a community to lessen the exposure that children faces all over the world. Yes, we must hold governments accountable to their part of the bargain to protect us and to create an enabling environment for children to grow up and to fulfil their potentials in safety and ease.

We must remember that these children are the policy-makers and leaders of tomorrow, and they will only enact laws and policies through the prism of their own childhood lenses.

I shed tears for the children of Manchester and around the world in this current climate of fear.

I wish you peace as you read and reflect on the issues of our times.