On the African continent, images of mothers and children are found wherever the visual arts are, from early rock-art sites in Egypt and the Sahara to the contemporary arts of South Africa. Discovered in a variety of materials, from stone, ivory, and metals to beadwork, wood, and even paintings, images of maternity enliven virtually every type of object made in the region.
Defining maternity as a biological and cultural phenomenon, the author goes beyond obvious notions of fertility to consider the importance of maternity in thought, ritual action, and worldview. Maternity images of all eras evoke deep and significant messages – well beyond what meets the eye.
Distributed for Mercatorfonds
Herbert M. Cole is professor emeritus of history of art and architecture at the University of California Santa Barbara.
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