I wrote my MA thesis in ethnology about the "Appropriation of African Art in the West", a critical comment on our view of foreign artefacts as "art". Before i was working in the Museum für Völkerkunde München (Ethnographic Museum Munich) for 9 months, and curated an ethnographic section in an exhibition about "The Desert".
At the moment i am looking for a research theme for my dissertation. I am interested in the history of anthropological collections, the "biography" of things, cultural appropriation.
My main argument in my thesis was, that, as "art" is a cultural domain of the "west", African Art is in fact an artefact of our society. The objects labelled so have neither been produced as art, nor perceived as such in their respective societies of origin. The change of perspective in the west, starting with the belittling of foreign artefacts as material representations of "primitive" people, and leading to the "discovery" of the aesthetic aspects of "primitive art" in the early 20th century, has produced an art genre called African Art.
Isn´t that a starting point for an opening discussion?