Powers of the Ancestors: Sculpture from Central Africa
March 2, 2017 - April 15, 2017
32 East 57th Street

Pace Primitive presents an exhibition of over 30 artworks, Power of the Ancestors: Sculpture from Central Africa, March 2— April 15, 2017, representing the broad range of masks, figures and ritual fetish objects from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo and Gabon. Although we may not fully understand the function of each object, its power is undeniable.

Throughout history world cultures have celebrated their ancestors. In Central Africa ancestors and their spirits were summoned in a wide variety of situations: from conflict resolution to healing sickness, from unmasking witches and witchcraft, to war and clan migration. Figures, masks, and reliquaries were carved to communicate with influential forebears, and to keep ancestors present and engaged in the world of the living. These sacred objects are remarkable works of art and clearly demonstrate the importance of the ancestors.

Among the works featured in the exhibition is one of the few reliquary figures carved by a known master. The mid 19th century Kota Reliquary Figure by the artist Semangoy is a classic two dimensional sculpture made of wood, brass and copper and characterized by a convex forehead projecting above the concave lower half where the facial features are concentrated. Relics of a distinguished ancestor would be wrapped around the base of the piece ensuring their presence at all times.

Charged with power is a commanding Dondo-Kamba Nail Fetish from the Republic of the Congo. The standing figure is surmounted by a very expressive and poignant face with an open screaming mouth. The torso is densely studded by a variety of 19th century knives and metal blades. Nail fetishes were used as vehicles for shamans to communicate with spirits and to cajole them in witnessing human’s activities and deal making.

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Pace Primitive

32 East 57th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10022

T  212 421 3688
F  212 751 7280

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Sat: 10-5

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New York, NY 10022

Tel 212 421 3237
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Saturday: 10-5


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Pace Primitive
Tribal and Ancient Art

32 East 57th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10022

Tel 212 421 3688
Fax 212 751 7280

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Gallery Hours
Tue - Fri: 10-6
Sat: 10-5


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Pace Prints
Contemporary Prints

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3rd Floor
New York, NY 10001

Tel 212 629 6100
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Tuesday-Friday: 10-6
Saturday: 11-6


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© 2017 Pace Editions, Inc.