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Maker(s):Hanusi, Saidi
Culture:African; Tanzanian; Dar es Salaam
Title:Shetani with Three Heads
Date Made:mid-20th century
Materials:carved ebony wood
Place Made:Africa; Tanzania
Measurements:overall: 20 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 1 7/8 in.; 52.07 x 9.525 x 4.7625 cm
Narrative Inscription:  unmarked
Accession Number:  SC 1975.61
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. Florinda E. Fernandes in gratitude for the education her daughter, Dolorosa Fernandes, class of 1976, has received at Smith College
Museum Collection:  Smith College Museum of Art

three stylized heads in openwork carving one on top of another inside a roughly rectangular outer wood "framing"

Label Text:
Shetani is the Swahili word for a type of mischievous yet dangerous spirit. A group of expatriate Makonde artists from Mozambique, working in Dar es Salaam in the 1960s, decided to try making sculptures of these imaginary beings. In doing so, they invented an entirely new and modern sculptural style, using ribbon-like forms to make undulating, abstract figures in solid wood. The sculptures proved tremendously popular with art collectors, despite the fact that they had never been used in a traditional context. The Makonde artists prove, therefore, that African art is valued independently of traditional practices and they opened the doors for other contemporary artists on the continent to deviate from traditional subject matter and carving methods

Susan E. Kart '96, Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa, Lehigh University (2018)


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