Regard sur les Kuba
October 31th. 2006. - May 31th. 2007.
Valerie Hairson, anthropologist
About the exhibition
The “Regard sur les Kuba” offered a unique glimpse into the art of the Kuba people from Congo. Based on heterogeneous materials the exhibition was primarily focused on Kuba textiles: more than 40 exemplary pieces were exhibited and portrayed the regal paraphernalia of Kuba kings.
The combination of symbols expressed through geometric patterns set these textiles among the highest achievements of two-dimensional art.
The Kuba textiles are also known in the art world and among collectors as “Kasai Velvet” based on the Congolese river inhabited by the Shoowa, but also the smoothe velvet-like texture that they hold. The most prominent quality of the textiles (which transformed them from a simple ethnographic artifact to art piece) are the more than 300 discovered patterns which are abstractions from nature: paw marks, stylised animals, geometrical forms and pure abstractions, which can further be traced through architecture, sculpture, objects of every-day use, but also body-art (in intricate, patterned scarifications found among the Kuba).