The first thing that springs to most people’s minds when they hear the words “AfricanArt” are probably African tribal face masks. But http://www.genuineafrica.com and Africanartoffers more than just masks, including fertility idols, drums, and sculptures. They are all genuine, and come from all over Africa literally, from Egypt to Kenya and all the way to the Ivory Coast. The masks are from tribes as varied as the Ashanti, Yoruba, to the Kudu. Prices range from $85 to $3000 dollars. But rest assured these are genuine articles, and that the website actually offers interest-free payment plans to help items become more affordable with less disposable income.
This website deals withreasonably priced, lively, and colourful Africanhome décor, handmade baskets, jewellery, music, and kids’ toys. These are Africanproducts that you can enjoy interacting with, as opposed to expensive antiquities which you are scared to touch in fear of breaking or damaging them!But what is especially nice about the products offered by http://www.swahilimodern.com is that all are made in Africa, by African’s, and are all fair trade. Most are made in workers cooperatives that ensure good salaries and excellent working conditions.
http://www.africadirect.com sells an enormous amount of beads from all over Africa, from various tribes who each make beads to their own style. They are made from all sorts of gemstones, including amber and amethyst, coloured corals from the Red and Mediterranean Seas, animal bones, and even from pulverised glass found in Mauritania. Beadwork includes finished products such as braces, wedding bands, and necklaces. Some of these products date back as far as the 12th century. Prices start from about $10 and go up to $3,600 for products made from exquisite 19th-century Venetian glass.
This company is well established, trading online since 2002 via the website http://www.africancraftsmarket.com. They are a fair-trade company based in South Africa and offer a truly spectacular array of genuine Africanproducts. They offer absolutely everything an Africanart enthusiast could desire: Abstract art, jewellery, footwear, furniture, chessboards, animal skins, and even cooking utensils, to name just a few of the products on offer here. Prices are reasonable too: Some products start at only $5, and even for the larger and finer items (such as furniture), prices only really go up to about $250.
This company specialises in Africanart, namely paintings and carvings, and each piece is commissioned, meaning that each product is a truly unique piece of Africanart different from everything else. The company works closely with African artists all over the continent, and they work as a ‘middle-man’ between these artists and consumers, whilst ensuring artists are paid a fair salary for their work. The Africanart on their website – http://www.shop.artsandcraftsofafrica.com – ranges in price from £150-£2,500. But the company also has a gallery in Kent, England that offers products not available on their website. One excellent feature is that the company invites customers to discuss your specific requirements with them by phone or email, so you can get a product styled and customised to your individual tastes.
This company’s website – http://www.igerbend.com – sources most of its products from the Niger Bend region of West Africa. They specialise in ethnographic pieces from this region that are discovered through their scouts who travel through the region in search of the finest quality pieces. The company is extremely well-established and started trading before the dawn of the internet in 1982. They have, in this time, formed a well-established trade network in the region. In addition to the ethnographic pieces, they also offer a range of Archaeological pieces, baskets, beads, doors, and face masks, to name just a few of the products on offer. Prices can range from $150 for beadwork, to $5000 for whole intact doors, all the way up to $7,500 to excavated bracelets, dating back to 1,200AD. Needless to say, the prices reflect the antique value of the products on offer, and this website is certainly for serious professional antique Africanart collectors.
http://www.arttribal.com is acompany that trades solely online, and with this business structure, it is able to offer tribal Africanart from across the continent at affordable prices. Each piece is guaranteed to be genuine and authentic, with each piece handcrafted with bronze or wood which are sold at prices much lower than similar pieces of Africanartfound in expensive art galleries. Masks and figures are the two productsArt Tribal specialise in, and prices range from $100 to around the $2,000 mark. The website is very user-friendly, and offers you the option of searching as a “first-time buyer”, an “experienced collector”, by price, or even search by the tribe name from A-Z.
Another company that sells exclusively online – at http://www.eshopafrica.com – EshopAfrica was founded in Ghana in 2000, making it a very well established and long-running website. They have a business model that centres on sustainable practices, such as adherence to fair trade principles to artists who work with the company. As for the products, they have some truly unique Africanart and craft pieces on offer, including Ga Coffins, which are essentially ‘fantasy coffins’ made exclusively in Ghana, centred around their religious belief that death is not the end and that life continues in the next world exactly the same way as it did on Earth. Hence, this is why they are actually considered works of art that reflect the life of the deceased person, such as his or her profession or passions in life. The website also offers musical instruments from the Ghana region such as ‘Banana Bells’ – essentially a gong – to various drums. Prices range from a very reasonable $10 to around $450 for the Ga Coffins.
Africouleur started life as a shop in Paris in 1996, founded by designer Ferouz Allali from Togo. It has now grown into a website – http://www.africouleur.com/ – and specialises in selling African textiles and joyfully colourful clothing to men, women, and children. Allali works closely with Togolese artists who make entirely unique Africanartpieces which she then makes available to the global marketplace. Allali puts paramount importance on paying her Tongolese artists good wages but also uses much of her profits to help families grow their businesses by funding workshops, donating equipment, and providing training to budding artists. The decorative patterns on the clothing and textiles are in basin, wax, splash, and indigo styles. The website also includes unique products such as luggage: from extravagantly colourful backpacks to smartphone cases and purses. Prices are very reasonable, starting from only 5 Euros and going up to a maximum of 100 Euros.
This company sells beadwork exclusively made by the Maasai people of Kenya via their website http://www.thekenyancollection.com/. But what makes their beadwork so unique is that most of the products are actually made for dogs! Dog collars, more specifically, made in the same traditional style the Maasai make their own neck collars in. Prices range from about $40 all the way up to $120, depending on the size and style required. Perhaps this may seem a little steep, but the artwork is truly exquisite, and the strength of the leather means this product will last for many years, plus, the company operates to strict fair-trade standards and gives some of their profits to Maasai for development and sustainability projects. The website also offers beaded bracelets for humans, and a unique “Fly fishing box set”, that includes Maasai patterns on Dachai hooks, set into a Banana fibre box.