Arts & Entertainment

African tribal art

By April Hall
Info Guru,

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African statue
A small statue fits any home décor
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Check out these tips for purchasing African tribal art.

Once you get started researching African tribal art, you will come to the realization that there is not one single word to describe this genre of artwork. Because each tribe across the continent of Africa is unique in its traditions, religious beliefs, community interactions and even language, the tribal artwork is as varied as the people.

If you know that you want to add some of this artwork to your collection, you may be overwhelmed at the options you find when you start searching for African tribal art. In order to keep your thoughts organized and keep your search focused, consider the following suggestions:

Decide on your budget first. If you wait until you have found some artwork that excites you to consider how much you are able to spend, you may end up paying more for your tribal art than you can actually afford. The good news is this: if your budget for art is somewhat limited, you can usually find excellent reproductions of traditional art that will fool even the best-trained eye. By keeping your finances in mind, you will be able to work with dealers and galleries that will help you stay within a reasonable budget.

Envision the artwork as part of your home décor. While this type of art is incredibly beautiful and culturally enriching for everyone, it is not a feasible addition to all home décor. How reasonable is it to add a tribal mask to a room that is otherwise decorated in a French county design? If your home will not reasonably accommodate the addition of a major piece of African art, do not worry – you can always choose a small, stand-alone piece of art that will be more appropriate. A small religious figurine or statue might be the perfect choice.

Find a dealer who will work with you. It will be much easier for you to wade through the many decisions about African tribal art if you have a knowledgeable  person who is doing much of the legwork for you. You can, if you choose, visit galleries and dealer shops that deal with African tribal art; however, it is likely that you will end up paying much more for the pieces than you might if you have someone negotiating for you. Be careful that you do not end up paying high commissions to your dealer. Make sure that you establish all fees and commissions before you find the pieces you like.

Find out the artwork's origin and the artist's name. There are some dealers who deal only with original, authentic artwork; others will be able to find you authentic recreations at affordable prices. It is likely that many people will compliment you on your new art addition, and you want to be sure to be able to tell them where it came from and what it means. If your African tribal art has spiritual meaning, be sure to know something about its religious significance and how it is possibly used in a ceremony. This type of knowledge about your art is what will make owning it truly special!

If you would like your art purchase to benefit a community, there are many organizations that work with villagers in African communities to help them sell their artwork around the world. By purchasing through these organizations, you are not only adding a beautiful piece of art to your home, but you will also be contributing to the well-being of an entire community.

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