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Zagourski: Lost Africa: from the collection of pierre loos

Hardcover: 224 pages
550 b/w illustrations
Publisher: Skira; 1st edition (December 7, 2001)
Language: English

An outstanding photographic reportage from the Twenties and Thirties brings back the memory of ways of living, ceremonies, adorned bodies of an Africa that be aptly defined as "lost". These extraordinary, unpublished pictures, taken with great technical skill and with a sense of great dignity of the people portrayed, constitute a monument to the African continent as it was.

Kazimir Ostoja Zagourski (1880-1941) was born in Poland and moved to Congo in 1924. Zagourski was the first professional photographer to travel throughout the interior of Congo and visited also the neighboring countries, Tchad, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. During his long stay in Africa he took hundred of pictures, 500 of which, divided in two extraordinary series on different tribes, build up to a unique historic and ethnographic survey.

In a sense, Zagourski's work constitutes the first "non-European" look, devoid of the colonial overtones that characterize much contemporary work. His forays into the depths of the African continent took him into the most remote villages of Kuba, Mangbetu, Bwaka, Tutsi, Masai, etc. where he took unprecedented pictures of great ethnographic interest. he documented for example, ceremonies (initiation, circumcision, excision, masked dances, etc.), the great African creativity in body ornament (from scarification to hair dresses, from jewels to lip plugs), clothes and all utilitarian objects placed in their appropriate cultural context (musical instruments, shields, stools, knives, containers, etc.).

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