Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures
African Sculpture from the Gary Schulze Collection

From the exhibition originally held at the QCC Art Gallery from April - September 2005
Queensborough Community College, New York
Directly below is the Preface to the exhibition and the Introduction to the exhibition from the catalog
as well as the article in the NY Times about the exhibition called "Giving African Art an Example of What is Due".
All 3 are worth taking the time to read in my opinion.

They will give you some good insight on the exhibition and a little bit of information about Gary Schulze and how the collection was put together.
I would suggest reading the articles below and then looking at the various photo pages of the exhibition.
At the bottom of each photo page (linked above) there is a link that will bring you back to this page.
Preface and acknowledgements
The sculpture in this exhibition comes to Queensborough Community College via the collection of Gary Schulze, who began studying African objects during
his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone during the early 1960's. He helped the late Dr. M.C.F. Easmon establish the Sierra Leone National
Museum in Freetown where Mr. Schulze was Acting Curator in 1962-63. He also served as Secretary to the Sierra Leone Monuments and Relics
Commission. He traveled throughout the provinces collecting traditional art for the Museum collection and lectured on African art at Fourah Bay College. In
1996, he served as a United Nations Observer during Sierra Leone's Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Schulze has gathered an impressive selection of traditional African sculpture in a variety of media. Objects from his personal
collection have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, the Yale Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum and the Studio
Museum of Harlem. Pieces from his collection are illustrated in both the 1965 and 1986 editions of African Art in American Collections, published by the
Smithsonian Institution, and forthcoming in Surfaces: Color, Substances and Ritual Applications on African Sculpture.

In this exhibition, objects from West Africa predominate. In keeping with Mr. Schulze's first interest, many originate among the Mende, Sherbro and Temne
of Sierra Leone. Other areas of Africa are well represented, by masks and figures from the Dan, Grebo and We in Liberia and Ivory Coast, for instance,
and by sculpture from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and the Congo.

This collection has the distinction of featuring objects which were created over an extraordinarily long span of time. Terracottas created 2000 years ago in
northern Nigeria are the oldest sculptures in the exhibition, followed by Sape Confederation stone carvings dating from the 15th to the 17th century. Benin
ivory and cast bronze objects were created during the 18th and 19th centuries, while the wood sculpture dates primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Many of the objects shown here are now in the collection of Queensborough Community College. With his generous donations to the QCC Gallery, Mr.
Schulze has established a basis for the formation of a collection which will grow, in time, to represent to the community the best of Africa's
sculpture-producing cultures.

I wish to thank Mr. Schulze for access to his collection, his personal recollections and accumulated research on the artifacts represented here. His gracious
support was always appreciated. Prof. Henry Drewal generously offered information on the iconography of the Yoruba pieces, as did Prof. Bolaji Campbell.
Dr. Pascal James Imperato provided interpretation for the rare Malinke mask in this collection, as well as insight into its symbolism. Thanks to Father Tony
Fevlo, SMA, for his adept translation from Ewe of words incised on the ivory trumpet. The catalogue essay benefited from Sarah Hendon's attentive editorial
contributions. Photos by Ken Yurkovitch emphasize the unique qualities of each object. Leonard Kahan's overview of the collection gave direction to the
selection process. And Faustino Quintanilla, QCC Gallery Director, kept the exhibition on track through scheduling delays and reconstruction of the gallery.
For each of their considerable contributions, I thank them.

By - Donna Page
Gary Schulze has assembled a collection of African art that is both unusual and unique. Unlike many collections which represent wood sculpture alone, the
Schulze collection is equally strong in a number of different media including wood, metal, ivory, terracotta and stone. The properties of these materials are
well understood by this collector. Mr. Schulze has also sought out unusual objects which are represented here for the first time.

African artists work to bring out the potential for expression in each medium. Wood is the most versatile and offers great diversity of form. Stone must make
its statement through basic volumes. Cast metal can be as detailed and complex as the wax from which it is cast. Hammered metal has its own
characteristics, manifest predominately through the technique of repousse. Ivory, because of the limitation of its given form, usually retains a cylindrical.
tapered shape, taxing the artist to be subtle in his carving and application of details. Terracotta is malleable and offers the artist greater creative options.
All of these technical and aesthetic approaches must be recognized by the collector who wishes to understand the whole of African art This catalogue
offers fine examples of works in each of these media. The accompanying essay by Donna Page takes us into the world of the artist as she describes the
working techniques employed for each craft during the time each object was created.

The theme of Page's catalogue essay, Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures, outlines and illuminates the often overlooked but indispensable
relationship between the artist and those who commission the work. This relationship is essential to the creation of African ceremonial sculpture in all
media, and it influences everything from the conception to the production of objects in traditional African cultures. The identity of the patron can vary.
Designated elders or leaders of associations commissioned objects, as did diviners who often prescribed them as curative measures. Royalty controlled
sculpture in some areas, along with the raw material from which it was made. For all ritually important objects, the artist would commence work only under
the auspices of these leaders. In this way, important spiritual and formal conditions were controlled and directed. This did not prevent the artist from
exercising individuality of expression, as well illustrated by the objects in this exhibition.

Some of these pieces are as exquisite as they are rare. The Temne prestige figure represents form-making at its finest. It is one of thirteen pieces by the
same artist, as identified by the late Philip Ravenhill and included in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art in 1995. The
seated Dogon figure is one of only a few in existence. It is a larger version of the more familiar example in the Rockefeller Collection at the Metropolitan
Museum. The Dengese statue, collected by Mr. Schulze because of its age and wonderfully decorated surface, is important as a royal figure and incredibly
rare. The ivory leopard from Benin, which is a miniature version of the Queen's leopards in the British Museum, may be the only one represented in a
private collection. A slightly larger leopard, in the New Orleans Museum of Art, is its only equal. The brass colonial pipe from Cameroon, depicting an early
twentieth century German soldier, is the best example I have seen of its genre. Equally inventive are the metal-covered Malinke mask and the unusual
Oubi/Grebo masks illustrated in this catalogue.

The essay acknowledges the sense of history present in each group of objects. The metal speaks of royalty, the stone of ancient kingdoms. Carved ivory
tusks denote traditional chiefdoms, while the terracotta sculptures mark a time thousands of years past. African art communicates ideas about religion,
mythology and culture. These images reflect and recall vital parts of each society's tradition and continuity. This can be experienced through the aesthetics
of form, materials, and myriad details rendered by individual artists. Gary Schulze has intuitively felt these qualities and has assembled a collection which
allows us to participate in viewing that history.

by - Leonard Kahan
New York Times - August 19, 2005
Giving African Art an Example of What It Is Due

A century from now, art historians will shake their heads in disbelief at what universities were teaching circa 2005. How, they will wonder, could
scholars have been so obtuse? Entire courses devoted to that froth called French Impressionism; whole seminars to a prolific pasticheur named
Pablo Picasso, whose chief innovation lay in mining African art for modernist gold. As for the study of African art itself, it was relegated to the margins
of the discipline.

In age, variety and beauty, art from Africa is second to none. Africa had traditions of abstract art, performance art, installation art and conceptual art
centuries before the West ever dreamed up the names. African art stayed vital and culture-altering as the West's avant-garde episode withered away.

So why is African art given such scant attention circa 2005? Why are precious opportunities to study and document it lost for lack of money,
personnel and encouragement? Future historians probably will not have clear answers - cultural blindness is hard to explain. Charitably, they will
assume that universities did what they could with the limited vision they had.

But some universities have a broad vision. The City University of New York is one. Its Queensborough Community College has quietly assembled an
impressive collection of African art. A year ago, the college inaugurated a permanent display of the collection in its campus gallery. This summer the
gallery is presenting nearly 100 privately owned sculptures in an exhibition titled "Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures: African Sculpture
From the Gary Schulze Collection."

Mr. Schulze's interest in African art began when he was in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone in the early 1960's, and much of the work in the show
comes from there and a few other West Africa countries. Yet because African culture is a fluid, manifold, cross-pollinating phenomenon, the stylistic
range of the objects on view is broad and the chronological span wide, from the second millennium B.C. almost to the present.

Giving shape to such diversity isn't easy. The curator, Donna Page, an adjunct instructor in the department of art and photography at
Queensborough, tackles the job by adopting patronage as a theme and sorting out 60 objects under categories of royal patronage, religious
patronage and what might be called civic patronage. In reality, distinctions are not so neat, but the scheme works here, giving the show and Mr.
Schulze's collection a graspable logic.

The collection, despite unevenness, has pieces of exceptional interest, even in the context of a city with major institutional holdings of African material
at the Metropolitan and Brooklyn Museums. The show begins with one such work, an exquisite wooden figure of a woman carved in the mid-19th
century by a Temne artist in Sierra Leone.

With her crested coiffure, long neck carved in coils, and abdomen lightly marked with beautifying scars, she is a study in orderly patterning. Her lithe
figure and clear face adhere to a feminine ideal of both form and character. The way she touches her breasts, as if in a gesture of offering, speaks of
a generosity of spirit that is the truest meaning of fertility.

Ms. Page notes in the slender exhibition catalog that this sculpture and a similar one in the British Museum are among nearly a dozen thought to have
been carved by the same artist, his or her name unrecorded.

The sweeping assumption that anonymity is a condition natural to African art is wrong. The names of important artists were, in fact, well known in their
day, except to colonial collectors who either didn't understand local languages, or who, as they carried off a sculpture, simply didn't ask, "By the way,
who made this?"

The fact that Mr. Schulze, when in Africa, not only asked the question but spoke with the artist himself gives one of the show's several beautiful,
gleaming Sande Society masks a sense of personal magnetism. The piece was carved by Kondeh Bundu, a Mende artist in Sierra Leone, whom the
collector photographed and interviewed. The interview, recorded in 1962 and included in the catalog, suggests that this "unanonymous" artist well
knew his own worth and his fame.

When Mr. Schulze handed him an ancient stone carving from the collection of the Sierra Leone national museum for an inspection, the artist accepted
the piece as a gift. "Tell the government that your friend, Kondeh, the carver, wanted it. Tell the prime minister that Kondeh Bundu of Waiama wants
to keep it."

In fact, Mr. Schulze himself collected a good amount of similar archaeological material, and Ms. Page has installed a sampling on the gallery's second
floor. The oldest pieces are sleek terracotta heads and figures first dug up by tin miners working near the town of Nok in Nigeria in the 1920's. Dated
between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, they put to rest any lingering myth that African art is without a deep history.

Then there are the small, expressive, large-eyed stone figures that farmers in Sierra Leone came across when clearing fields. Tentatively dated from
the 15th to 17th centuries, they are attributed to a group of related peoples referred to collectively as the Sape Confederation. The confederation is
thought to have extended over parts of present-day Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, a reminder that African national boundaries as they exist now
were largely created by Europeans to divide up their spoils.

In the end, the most reliable, organic indicators of African cultural realities, which often represent its political realities, are to be found in its
boundary-crossing art. This fact automatically lifts the study of African art history from the status of academic luxury item - a cosmetic extra tacked on
to keep those multiculturalists quiet - to intellectual and existential necessity. Without it, the label "Department of Art History" is a sham.

This necessity makes both the Queensborough show and its fine and growing permanent African display - organized by the gallery's curator, Leonard
Kahan, and its director, Faustino Quintanilla - important events as well as aesthetic pleasures. That permanent display will be in place for years to
come. With luck, other university galleries around the country will emulate it, and their numbers will grow, just as the global influence of Africa itself
continues to increase.

Maybe, after all, art historians in 2105 will be shaking their heads in admiration at what our century accomplished. One thing is certain: many of those
scholars of the future will be African.
Photos of the brochure for the exhibition (highlighted in color) in the Grand Central Partnership information kiosks in
Grand Central Station in New York.
The cover of the catalog for the exhibition.

The catalog for the exhibition is wonderful and is nicely illustrated. The essay, by Donna Page, which accompanies this exhibition is wonderful and
very thorough. It is helpful in describing artists' techniques and the variety of tools used for stone, ivory and wood carving, bronze casting and the
formation of terracotta sculpture. The essay also explores the special relationship between the artist and his patron, as each brought certain
demands to the creative process. The task of the artist was to satisfy the requirements of the patron, within defined traditional norms, yet show his
skill and imagination in creating a dwelling place for a particular spiritual or secular entity.

The exhibition catalog consists of approximately 84 pages with color and black and white photos with captions and a 40 page essay.

The Essay
“Carvers and Patrons: Patterns of Ownership in Traditional African Societies” will explore the manner in which art was created and possessed in local
cultures. The essay will use examples from the collection to illuminate the nature of the artist/patron relationship. In contract to Western societies
where art is most often owned by individuals, much African art is communally owned, by groups, or by members of age, grade and other societies.
Objects owned in this way, hidden rather than displayed to be “brought out” only on special occasions, like initiations or other rites of passage. In
addition to group ownership, patronage by royalty resulted in the creation of many objects, some of which are seen in this collection. Diviners also
sometimes played a part in the commissioning of sculpture. This essay will explore the training of carvers in different localities, and the different
patronage systems under which they worked.

Copies of the catalog for the exhibition are still available.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the catalog,
CLICK HERE to email the current distributor for the catalog to get more information.
Since Gary Schulze spent his time in Sierra Leone while in the Peace Corps, a lot of
his collection and interests are related to this area.

Below are a couple of links to additional resources and organizations that relate to
Sierra Leone.
A great overall resource on Sierra Leone
The Magic Penny, Inc. (TMPI) is a non-profit
organization created to develop and implement
individualized self-sufficiency action plans, that will
empower rural communities in Sierra Leone by
fostering Education, Health, and Economic growth.
Historic Postcards - The Gary Schulze Collection - on Sierra Leone Web
"Leaving a Legacy"
An experience from Gary's time in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone