Africa is a continent in flux. The myriad countries and cultures which that stretch across the cradle of humanity have leapt forwards dramatically over the course of the 18 years of the 21st century and show no signs of slowing. Whilst Africa has always been a crucible of change, the downside is many of the most ancient traditions and ceremonies of the African past are lost forever. African Twilight: The Vanishing Rituals and Ceremonies of The African Continent by the famous photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher is the culmination of 15 years of work. The pair travelled thousands of miles to some of the remote places on earth to capture photographic evidence of these vanishing traditions and their practitioners. Shockingly, at the time of writing over 40% of the photography the pair captured represents cultures and practices that no longer exist.
African Twilight is a monumental piece of work, an 864 page journey through a world already fading into history. Alongside the book is an upcoming exhibition consisting of 85 photographs from the vast collection alongside 10 short video films. There will be many events organised by Portobello Road’s Tribal Gathering London gallery. Founded over twenty years ago by Bryan Reeves, the Gallery has become the heart of tribal art in the capital. The upcoming Tribal Art London (5-8th September) organised by Reeves at the Mall Galleries is the UK’s premier and only specialist collectors’ fair for tribal art and is the only way to get an early look at African Twilight.
Among speakers this year are Rebecca Bray, Assistant Curator of the upcoming Royal Academy exhibition, Oceania, (29 September-10 December 2018) and Tony Eccles of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. In addition to helping promote vital pieces of art and history like African Twilight and fairs and events throughout the year, Tribal Gathering also hosts free lectures and talks covering a huge variety of subjects related to indigenous culture. Whilst the modern world is borne ceaselessly into an uncertain future, it has never been more vital to celebrate and preserve our past. Tribal Art London: 5-8 September www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/ exhibitions/tribal-art-london-2018 African Twilight: Publisher Rizzoli ISBN-10: 0847860175