I don’t know exactly when it happened but it seems that I have always been attracted to the art of indigenous populations. As a child I can remember being fascinated by the arts and crafts of Native American Indians. It is likely that this attraction has it’s origins in the fact that my mother’s paternal family were Native Americans and I longed to know more about that culture. Later in life I began to collect American Indian pottery and baskets and was fascinated by their religious and social significance. Then, in 1988 I made my first international volunteer medical trip to Nepal and I was instantly struck by the similarities in the patterns and symbols that were present in the folk art of several of the rural tribes within Nepal and with the symbols found in American Indian crafts. I became passionate about indigenous folk art and especially about tribal art of mountain or hill people who refused to acculturate to the larger ever-encroaching civilization. From that point on I began to pilgrimage to the most remote cultures I could get to, (especially remote mountain cultures) to visit the peoples and to find samples of their art and culture. I have visited remote villages in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, pilgrimaged to the hill tribes/mountain people of North Viet Nam and the Golden Triangle in Thailand and Laos . Later I was privileged to work and travel in sub- Saharan Africa and to locate pieces that are truly African Treasures.



Tribal art is an umbrella term used to describe artifacts and objects created by the indigenous peoples of (controversially named) primitive cultures. It can be thought of as folk art that is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more. Folk artists traditionally learn skills and techniques through apprenticeships in informal community settings or techniques passed down from one generation to another. The characteristics of a society that produces tribal art include: low population size, no or little use of written language, and political and economic isolation from major civilizations.

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