Cover image for Kilengi : African art from the Bareiss family collection
Kilengi : African art from the Bareiss family collection
Roy, Christopher D.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Kilengi. English
Publication Information:
Hannover : Kestner Gesellschaft ; Seattle : University of Washington Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
419 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 32 cm
General Note:
"An exhibition of the Kestner Gesellschaft"--Half t.p.

Catalog of an exhibition held Aug. 30-Oct. 19, 1997 at the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Nov. 12-Jan. 18, 1998 at MAK-Österreichisches Museum, April 8-July 5, 1998 at Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, March 27-May 23, 1999 at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Sept. 26-Jan. 10, 2000 at Neuberger Museum of Art.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N7391.65 .R6913 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



To the northern Bantu tribes "kilengi" means joy arising through beauty. Kilengi includes superb photographs of art objects from throughout Africa. The book presents extraordinary works from well-known regions as well as new discoveries and objects that challenge long-standing conceptions of African art. Christopher Roy includes a masterly introduction to the problems of the presentation of traditional African art.

Much of the most unusual material is from eastern and southern Africa. This is an area about which very little has been known until recently, and there has been very little published on the art from the region. A large selection of pieces from the Democratic Republic of Congo is also of special interest. Essays and lengthy commentaries discuss the meaning of each piece for the creators.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

To view a piece of African art is to gain insight into an aspect of African culture. Kilengi is the exhibition book of the Bareiss family's collection of art from eastern Africa. For the introductory essay, Roy has undertaken the task of explaining the cultural significance of art in African society for a Western-oriented audience. Simply defined, African art depicts one's position in life. Women use fertility symbols to pray for children who will eventually take care of them in their old age. Teachers wear initiation masks during the momentous rite-of-passage ceremonies that teach adolescent boys about the important roles of adulthood. Sculptures of ancestors honor those who have died. The pieces of this collection vary between the everyday, the spiritual, and the political; and each piece tells a tale about a particular person or event. Roy takes a seemingly difficult task and helps a previously uninformed reader understand the cultures of Africa and the people who live with the art. --Julia Glynn

Library Journal Review

Kilengi is a Bantu term meaning "joy arising through beauty," a telling insight into the importance of art in Africa. This catalog in coffee-table format was produced to accompany a traveling exhibition of Walter Bareiss's African art collection, previously in Iowa City and now in Purchase, NY. The collection, although only recently assembled, is intriguing because of its high quality and because it focuses on East and South Africa, regions often overlooked. Roy's introduction incisively criticizes scholars' and collectors' overemphasis of West African art. His essay describing the major categories of objects represented in the collection is not innovative in approach but will be useful for the general reader. This book's greatest strength lies in both George Meister's exquisite photography, which highlights the visual power of the collected objects, and in Roy's extensively researched catalog entries. Overall, this is a visually stunning, very reasonably priced publication; highly recommended for any library with an interest in African art.ÄEugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib., WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.