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CONTEMPORARY SAN ART
Storytelling art of the Kalahari desert Bushmen of Botswana
..This book takes the aims of the Kuru art project as a point of departure for setting a subsequent step on the path of emancipation of non-Western indigenous artists, in particular the San artists. It does so by emphasizing the intrinsic value of the storytelling art-pieces, by rejecting the direct relation between rock art and contemporary San art. By linking modern San art to the San Poetry of the 19th century and the contemporary African poets like Antjie Krog and Stephen Watson. An artistic rather that anthropological approach to art of non-Western indigenous artists does not only challenge and emancipate the artists concerned, but also constitutes a challenge for existing perceptions and policies concerning art. In the western world, such as the Dutch art world non-Western indigenous art Bis mostly exhibited in the con-text of ethnological museums or specific art-galleries. In many respects this book represents a welcome step in a new direction!”
( Netherlands Center for indigenous People, NCIV )
This book is about the beauty of contemporary San art. Works of art made by the San or Bushmen as they are often called.
The San artists in this book are living in and around the little village of D’kar in the northern part of Botswana, on the edge of the Kalahari desert and near to the Okavango Delta.
The art works in this book teli us about their life and cuitural heritage. lts is storytelling art, in a traditional and figurative form, but also in a modern, more stylized form. The San art works shows the cosmic consciousness of the San and their lifestyle being integrai part of surrounding nature. At the same time the artworks show us the loss of traditional Bushmen culture caused by the invasion of other domi¬nating cuitures and the grievances of this loss; a culture of oral and spiritual cultural tradition.
On the basis of twenty artworks the story of the beauty, the compiexity and the loss of Bushmen culture is being toid . To understand the essence and meaning of San artworks, one has to grasp what made the San artists begin to etch and paint, and what the story is they try to convey. It’s a story about the beauty of a very old culture, and the awareness that is this ancient culture is gradually being lost. In this respect the twenty artworks are in a true sense, valuable time documents.