“Living with art is an enriching experience, and we hope you’ll get to visualize that through this magazine.”
As we approach the end of the year, the days have become shorter, the temperature has dropped, and we are spending more time indoors in the warm comfort of our homes. There’s less urge to go outdoors during the weekends, while piles of books and magazines remain waiting for us to be devoured. December brings winter, cozy evenings at home, and family gatherings. To close the gallery’s year, we decided to present a beautiful selection of artworks in such a homely context. We asked some friends of Duende if we could use their homes as a setting to present a curated selection of works from the African continent, both old and new. As we know firsthand, living surrounded by timeless works of art brings much joy. This first Duende magazine wishes to recreate that feeling, sharing ideas of how to bring African art into your life. While artworks are presented in the best possible manner in a gallery context, once home the experience of enjoying them is very different and much more personal. Nobody lives in an art gallery. At home there are no rules, anything goes, and art is free to move around and land in every room or corner of your house. You’ll be surprised how well classical African art blends in any interior setting. The focus of this winter selection is what has often been called objects of daily use, so not the typical masks and statues used in a ritual context, but utilitarian objects whose beauty once enhanced the lives of their original owners. Much more than decorative items, such artworks come with layers of past lives, their usage patina recalling the place they once had in someone’s life. Besides their beauty, these objects tell stories, inspire, and broaden our perspective of what African art can be. Living with art is an enriching experience, and we hope you’ll get to visualize that through this magazine. With the holiday season approaching you might even discover some gifting ideas for your loved ones, or a treat for yourself. As Duende fosters a greater understanding of classical African art, we’ve included essays on two exceptional sickness masks. Learning the story behind a mask only deepens the appreciation for it. As you’ll learn when you find out the hidden meanings of antique Shona headrests from Zimbabwe, nothing is ever just purely decorative in classical African art. As Duende is all about contemporary artists as well, we publish a spotlight on Beatrice Wanjiku, the Kenyan artist who was one of our stars of “Unsettled”, and who you must discover if you haven’t yet. With an interview, I’m happy to introduce you to Jan de Clerck, an Antwerp-based collector who made a fantastic acquisition during our spring exhibition “Unsettled”. Much more than a client, he is a friend, and a good collector too. We end this digital magazine with some movie and music tips – experiences that touched us, because Duende is all about inspiring. Lastly, we send you our season’s greetings, and wish you a lovely holiday break and a wonderful 2023 filled with lots of duende moments!