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Monday, 28 July 2014

Two African woodcarvings representing actual objects, made for very different reasons...




This ebony carving of a chainsaw is an artwork called I Want That You Want What I Want That You Want. It was in an exhibition called 'The Museum of Forgotten History' by the artist Maarten Vanden Eynde, which was shown at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol in 2012.

The sculpture was made by a woodcarver in Cameroon in 2010 and was exchanged with Vanden Eynde for the actual Stihl chainsaw that was copied in ebony.

The next carved representation is less refined in its carving but is possibly a matter of life-and-death to those who use it, members of the Konso people of Ethiopia. It was seen in the British Museum in London and represents a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle.


The exhibit label says that 'Hand-carved wooden AK-47 rifles are frequently carried by poor road workers in southern Ethiopia as a form of defensive camouflage, and by their children to deter potential thieves while tending goats and other livestock. Road building works have brought itinerant labourers into contact with pastoralist groups in this remote region where traditional cattle raids have become commercialised rustling. The black 'metal' parts of the gun are painted using tar and pitch from the road-works'

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