"Art plays an essential role in the lives of the African people and their communities. It serves a much more vital purpose than merely to beautify the human environment, as art is usually employed in contemporary Western societies.
The beauty of African art is simply an element of its function, for these objects would not be effective if they were not aesthetically pleasing. Its beauty and its content thus combine to make art the vehicle that ensures the survival of traditions, protects the community and the individual, and tells much of the person or persons who use it."
Tribal Art is rapidly growing in popularity. An even broader audience has been able to enjoy ‘Tribal Art’ thanks to major exhibitions in recent years in London, Paris, Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf.
At the start of the 20th century, however, Tribal Art was already arousing great excitement among artists and art collectors. At a time when “Negro Art” was still looked upon as the innocent product of primitive peoples, cubists such as Picasso, Braque or Gris were already drawing inspiration from the strikingly new qualities of form; expressionists such as Kirchner, Nolde or Schmidt-Rottluff were captivated by the elementary power of this native art and Gauguin was painting scenes from his travels to countries of the South Pacific. Non-European art greatly influenced the work of these great artists as it continues to influence modern art of the present day.
Over the course of the decades, great art lovers such as von der Heydt (Rietberg Museum, Zurich) or Mueller (Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva) have established significant art collections, which alongside the “colonial legacy” provide the mainstay of the museums’ inventories all over the world. Today it is artists and art enthusiasts such as Baselitz, Arman or Fritz