The Face of Sunset: African Art of Life, Transformation and Death

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Zarya publications is pleased to announce the release of a new book dealing with African art and culture. Entitled ‘The Face of Sunset: African art of Life, transformation, and death’ this new book by authors Scott Rodolitz and Arthur Bourgeois takes the reader on a journey not only through the arts of Sub-Saharan Africa, but through the relationship to the cycle of life as well.

Profusely illustrated with over 200 photographs of Museum quality objects, many never before published, along with archival field photos, “the Face of Sunset’ is the newest collaborative work by Rodolitz and Bourgeois, following their award winning ‘Remnants of Ritual’, which dealt with African art taken as seen out of context in the West. In this new work the authors build a new contextual framework for art that has been removed from its original culture and utilizing universal themes such as leadership, utility, divination, initiation, ancestral imagery and remembrance, create a new context that the Western viewer can relate to through their own experiences and cultural correspondences.

‘Far too often people visiting exhibitions of African art objects marvel at the ingenious use of line and form, but have no idea that many of the works are utilized in ways that are not very different from things that we do in the West’, Bourgeois says. ‘Though we may not share the same rites of passage, we too have our own cultural ways of attaining adulthood, or being initiated into an organization or group. Understanding that many of these objects served similar functions, allows readers and museum-goers to connect with the object in a much more powerful and appropriate manner’.

‘All people, in any cultural you can find, mark the events of life and death’ says author Scott Rodolitz, ‘in between we have a series of transformations; boy to man, girl to woman; sickness to health…we all deal with the same basic human needs. However, the way in which we build systems of understanding around these events differentiates us from one another. The art objects used in Africa for example are the physical manifestations of those cultures’ way of explaining and dealing with joy, loss or sickness’. When we understand this, we take some of the mystery out of the objects but illuminate them with a better sense of understanding – we see that these people are just like we are; faced with the same dilemmas and the same big questions’.

‘The face of Sunset’ was presented as an exhibition at the Tall Grass Art Association in Park Forest, IL from January 3 through March 18 2012 and will continue to travel.

The Face of Sunset is available on both in standard format and soon as a Kindle ebook and other digital formats.

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