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Touring Exhibitions

Primal Art – Paintings on Rocks, Paintings on Bodies


Municipal Museum Subotica

December 2008 - March 2009

Exhibition and catalogue by

Nataša Njegovanović-Ristić, art-historian and MAA senior curator

Exhibition photo

About the exhibition

The exhibition Primal Art – Paintings on Rocks, Paintings on Bodies is dedicated to the painting traditions of the Neolithic and, so it seems, an even older artistic form – body art.

The study focuses on the so-called two-dimensional arts of Africa. This extremely important field of human creativity, regardless the fact that it was only discovered in the 19th century, has been somewhat set aside on the account of African sculpture being the primary interest of 20th century scholars and artists. Africans have from time immemorial satisfied their need to express feelings and visions through drawings and colour, by creating on different surfaces: rocks or the human body.

The comparison of two seemingly different aspects of creativity on the African continent – cave painting and body decoration proves the thesis that drawing and colour remain the oldest forms of communication and reflect the need to express different artistic sensibilities. Therefore, the aim of this exhibition and book is to point out the continuity of the painting tradition across Africa – one that is still present in the work of contemporary African artists.

The exhibition was first displayed in the Museum of African Art (June 2007 / March 2008).