Wood-carved flywhisk is shape of a woman. Her torso doubles as the whisk handle and is scarified with leaden inlay, which has been worn smooth due to extended use. A red cotton wrap marks the transition zone between the female’s torso and the buffalo hair whisk below. The whisk visually acts as a grass skirt completing the above figure’s body and dress.
Whisks are the prerogative of rulers, divination experts or judges. This one seems to be of special importance given its intricate surface design. The figure raises her arm to her head making a gesture that indicates that she is also in the process of whisking up and down.
Elaborately carved staff with angular forms along the shaft and topped with a figurine with a rounded head, heart-shaped face and two stylized arms resting on the stomach. A large Z-shaped handle is carved in the middle of the shaft, with a series of cubes and conical forms above and beneath it.
The attribution of artworks to a single ethnic group is difficult in a region as diverse as that surrounding the Ubangi River, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Like many similar regions in Africa, the Ubangi River area has for centuries been characterized by "open borders" that allow for the easy movement of people and objects. The carved figure topping this stick represents the general characteristics of a regional Ubangi style. Among the Ngbaka, as well as neighboring peoples, tall sticks were used to strike the ground during initiation rituals: the noise would warn people that the male initiates were approaching. Female dancers would also brandish carved, notched sticks called "kangala" on the occasion of the initiation of girls.
This black and white photograph shows a portion of a woman's face against a solid black background. It is a close-up view of her right cheek, eye and eyebrow. She is gazing downward so the lashes and lid partially cover her eye.
This is the cover photograph for Ralph Gibson's book, "Infanta", (1995) that presented a group of his photographic studies of women. His abstraction of facial features against a blank black background reveals his formalist, yet sensual approach. "When I make a photograph, I move in closer and I take things away, and I take things away, until I get everything out the frame except what I want. Therefore my process is considered subtractive." [www.bermangraphics.com/press/ralphgibson.htm]