NewsArt Collector Talks African Art and Gives Buying Tips

Art Collector Talks African Art and Gives Buying Tips

Invest in art.

We caught up with Edwards to learn more about his plans for opening a museum and tips for investing in African art.
BLACK ENTERPRISE: Where does your love for Africa come from? Who has inspired you the most?

Edwards: As a child my parents inspired my passion for Africa, especially my father, who was an immigrant from Barbados. During that time, because of the state of racism against people of African descent in the United States, he was very concerned about what we, as children, would encounter as we entered the public school system in New York City. He was certain we would not be able to learn about African culture and history as he had in Barbados. So he took it upon himself to teach his children everything about African history and its many gifts to the world.
Tell us about the experience that inspired you to purchase your first piece of art.

I also have a passion for audiophilia—high-fidelity sound and equipment. Many years ago, I was a member of the two top audio files society in New York. We would have meetings at different members’ homes in the tri-state area. These people were doctors, engineers, scientists, psychiatrists, etc., who had a passion for music. While visiting their impressive homes, I started to notice a lot of African art. These people were of non-African descent. I asked them how they acquired their pieces of art and they told me about art galleries and auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s. I immediately became totally absorbed with artifacts and what they represented. The passion never ended.

What do you look for when purchasing art? Do you have a preference for a certain time period?

Not only is the art beautiful, it’s three-dimensional. Each piece was created for unique purposes such as utilitarian items that were used for everyday life: protection or warfare, religious, funerary or maybe even to honor a particular ancestry or system of royalty.
Africa is a continent of secrets. Many of the pieces in my collection are pieces from a secret society. Societies that educated young girls on how to become women or trained young boys in warfare, how to be a man or their responsibility to their ancestors.
Can you share your best piece of advice for investing in or buying African art?
I firmly believe everyone should own a piece of African art.
There’s a lot of African art out there so people should find and buy a piece of art that was made in Africa. There’s nothing wrong with “tourist art” but it’s important to know that it was made in Africa even if it was made in a factory. It should also represent a particular cultural group or tradition.

You should also document your purchases. Because of my technology background, I developed a database of information to document each piece in my collection.
RELATED CONTENT: Nikkolas Smith Navigates ‘Artivism’ And Commerce

Source: Black Enterprise

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