John SkeapingAkua-Ba 1931

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Artwork details

John Skeaping (1901‑1980)
Date 1931
MediumAcacia wood
Dimensionsunconfirmed: 1117 x 560 x 500 mm, 130 kg (Gross 200kg)
Acquisition Presented by the Tate Collectors Forum 2002
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1930


Akua Ba is a figurative sculpture carved out of a single block of acacia wood. A naked female figure, seated on a low stool, clasps in her hands some sort of object. The anatomical exaggerations of her body and the formal arrangement of the sculpture suggest a variety of non-European precedents, including ancient South American and African sculpture. For the critic R. H. Wilenski writing in 1932, Akua-Barevealed John Skeaping's knowledge of Asian, Pacific and African sculpture. He suggested that through this wholly successful amalgam of non-European aesthetic principles Skeaping ‘sought not only to organise form, but also to capture a direct uninhibited vision of the naked human body as the negro sculptors captured it, and to convey the meaning of this vision in the intensity of the formal meaning – as was done so miraculously by the Assam sculptors. He has tried, like the negro sculptors, to convey the meaning of the perception by means of the meaning of the form’ (R. H… (read more)

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