Presentation Title

The Mother and Child: Examining Materiality and Aesthetic of Luba Art in Western Museums

Abstract

The mother and child statue is a wooden sculpture, originating from Luba society in what is now the present day Democratic Republic of the Congo, which depicts a female figure squatting with a pipe on her right knee, a cloth wrapped around her waist, and a child standing between her legs, both having almost completely polished bodies, silently expressive faces, long torsos, and shorter legs, and which is thought to have brought fertility and health to families whose homes it resided in. In regards to this statue, I am researching the deliberateness of the portrayal of the female form and femininity, the attention to detail in visible places and how that informs the situating of the object, the choice of adding the child, etc. because I want to find out how this reflects Luba understanding of the human body and the aesthetic they employ to represent it, their use of religious objects and the additional practices that would be undertaken to give the object power, and their use of material objects in facilitating religious experience, etc. in order to understand what is lost in the display of this object in the Fleming Museum and how it could be better contextualized and portrayed in the future. In this presentation I will discuss how complex understandings of materiality inform the contextualization of the object itself and the ways in which a specific aesthetic is employed aligning with Luba culture to give the figure authority, to then share how the statue could be better displayed going forward.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Vicki Brennan

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Accelerated RN-BS-MS

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

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The Mother and Child: Examining Materiality and Aesthetic of Luba Art in Western Museums

The mother and child statue is a wooden sculpture, originating from Luba society in what is now the present day Democratic Republic of the Congo, which depicts a female figure squatting with a pipe on her right knee, a cloth wrapped around her waist, and a child standing between her legs, both having almost completely polished bodies, silently expressive faces, long torsos, and shorter legs, and which is thought to have brought fertility and health to families whose homes it resided in. In regards to this statue, I am researching the deliberateness of the portrayal of the female form and femininity, the attention to detail in visible places and how that informs the situating of the object, the choice of adding the child, etc. because I want to find out how this reflects Luba understanding of the human body and the aesthetic they employ to represent it, their use of religious objects and the additional practices that would be undertaken to give the object power, and their use of material objects in facilitating religious experience, etc. in order to understand what is lost in the display of this object in the Fleming Museum and how it could be better contextualized and portrayed in the future. In this presentation I will discuss how complex understandings of materiality inform the contextualization of the object itself and the ways in which a specific aesthetic is employed aligning with Luba culture to give the figure authority, to then share how the statue could be better displayed going forward.