What is ethnographic or "tribal" art?

African Tchokwe chair
KD88 Tiwi Owl
X747 Baule mask
Australian Aboriginal Log Coffin
  Collectors of fine tribal art share a common appreciation of the cultural roots from which each object emerges. Regardless of the object's source, part of its value lies in its authenticity: its relationship to ceremonies, beliefs, rituals, and images that are part of tribal life. Yet, without aesthetic appeal, these objects might only be "curiosities." It is the combination of tribal authenticity and aesthetic appeal that transforms an artifact into a work of art.


As a result, while there are hundreds of thousands of tribal artifacts, few pieces qualify as fine art. You will find them in museums, in private collections, and in a few galleries that act as facilitators between the sources and the public attracted to them.

Aboriginals: Art of the First Person is privileged to play that role in Southwest Florida and, now, on the world wide web.

Every piece has a story to tell.


Sometimes the story is well known and well-documented. Sometimes it requires research, supposition, or a touch of faith. As longtime collectors, Susanne and William Waites, the enthusiastic proprietors of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, have studied these stories for years and continue their research through every available source, including travel to the places this work originates and the people who create it.

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(The Village)
Sanibel, FL. 33957

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