Friday, November 2, 2007

Luba : The Understanding of Memory

Luba people say that only a woman's body is strong enough to contain a powerful spirit like a king's,so sculpture dedicated to kingship is almost always female in gender.Through the gesture.expression and adornment,this figure expresses fundamental principles of power and spirit embodiment.
The body as surface and interior,container and contained, is a "place of meeting and transfer"
where memory is created,perpetuated,and sustained.
Body memory is "intrinsic to the body"and to "how we remember in and by and through the body".
Memory does not occur in the cocoon of the mind,isolated and detached from external forces:instead,it is always located on the borderline of the body, at the threshold of self and other(s).The body is a mirror that limns the observer's gaze and the object of that gaze,reflecting one back upon the other.
Memory is the mask of one's person, always in- between ,always becoming, always in the present,always enacted through the "now"of bodily experience.
The iconographic representation of women in Luba sculpture is widespread and correlates to the important role of women in Luba society.
The Luba are best known for their stools, divination bowls (mboko), beautifully carved bow stands, and memory boards (lukasa).
Excerpts from Memory- Luba Art and the Making of History
edited by The Museum for African Art.New York

The Luba are one of the Bantu peoples of Central Africa. They are native to the Katanga and Kasai regions which are contained as a semi-autonomous regions of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo.
They speak the Tshiluba language.

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