Saturday, April 3, 2010

Angolan Sculptures

As like most African art, masks and wooden sculptures are not merely aesthetic creations. They have an important role in cultural rituals, representing the life and death , the passage from childhood to adulthood, the celebration of a new harvest and the beginning of hunting season . Angolan artisans work in wood , bronze and ivory , in masks or sculptures . Each ethno-linguistic group in Angola has its own unique artistic traits.

 Perhaps the most famous Angolan art or sculpture is the 'O Pensador' or 'Thinker', a hand-made crafted wood piece which is considered a national symbol in Angola. The 'Pensador' originates from the Tchokwe tribe and represents today a reference of the culture concerning all Angolans, as it is a symbol of the national culture.

It represents the figure of an elderly person that could be a man or a woman. Designed in a symmetric profile, with the face slightly bent down, it expresses an intentional subjectivism as, in Angola, the elderly represent wisdom and enjoy a privileged status. The elderly represent the wisdom, experience of long years and knowledge of the secrets of life.

This image today is Angola’s emblematic figure that is included in the watermark of the kwanza bank note, the national currency. It is considered as a native piece of art trustworthily Angolan. Alike any emblematic figure of a people, as it is the case of the "Zé Povinho" in Portugal, "John Bull" in England or the “Uncle Sam” in the United States, 'O Pensador' represents the same national tradition.


Lauren said...

Dear Blogger,

I am a marketing coordinator/graphic designer for Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company based in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. We are an architecture and planning firm that works with colleges and universities. We are interested in obtaining rights to the above pensador image to chase a current project. This is a time sensitive deadline. Please get back to me as soon as possible. This is not for public release.

Might you be so kind as to give us permission (with proper credit)?

Best regards,

Lauren Roberts

You can email your correspondence to

sinem uygun said...

I have a blog which explains Angola too. I saw your page while I was doing my research about Angola for my blog. It is great to see there are other people talks about the country because there are a few information about it.I write Turkish because it's my mother tongue.I live at Angola and I love it, that's why I just try to inform other people about the country and try to prevent bias about it.Good luck to you...

Best regards...