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Africa is a continent of secrets. Many of the pieces in my collection are pieces from a secret society. Societies that educated young girls on how to become women or trained young boys in warfare, how to be a man or their responsibility to their ancestors.
Can you share your best piece of advice for investing in or buying African art?
I firmly believe everyone should own a piece of African art.
There’s a lot of African art out there so people should find and buy a piece of art that was made in Africa. There’s nothing wrong with ‘tourist art’ but it’s important to know that it was made in Africa even if it was made in a factory. It should also represent a particular cultural group or tradition.
If you’re an aspiring art collector, you should go directly to the source. I recommend that you do a lot of research to find the artisans. I’ve purchased art from all around the world and my pieces go back 4,000 years. These pieces were used in rituals; they came from royal houses and were utilized in every day life. I’ve brought art from prestigious auction houses, galleries, and private collections around the world. Over the years, I’ve also developed relationships with royal families over in Africa, and I purchased pieces directly from them. For instance, when I purchased one piece of art from a royal family, officials from Africa had to come to my home and perform a ceremony for me to take possession of the artifact.
You should also document your purchases. Because of my technology background–I developed a database of information to document each piece in my collection.
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