By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles
Leadership arts in Africa sometimes reflect cultural borrowing, exchange, and appropriation of foreign motifs, materials, and symbols. In Angola for example, a former Portuguese colony in central Africa, Chokwe leaders own carved stools and chairs decorated with small figures of royal ancestors and members of the community engaged in daily life. The folding throne shown here is modeled after a folding deck chair from a colonial Portuguese steamship, and it ingeniously reflects the many ways Africans have adopted materials, forms, and techniques from strangers and adapted them for their own use. The figures include human couples, a turtle, and monkeys on the rear stretcher.