Jan 2018

Preserving history and sharing cultural heritage has been the main objective for museums across the globe for years. And in an attempt to bridge the gap between history and the age of high technology, the National Museum of Kenya has started a new programme to digitally preserve African artefacts. Bryan Reeves gives his opinion on the comparison between experiencing digitally created and genuine Tribal Art.

Update. June  2014
Gallery Lecture with members of Love Art London


TRIBAL FORMS: Ethnic Art Guru Bryan Reeves in Conversation

  • Tuesday 24 June
  • 6.30-8pm
  • 1 Westbourne Grove Mews, W11 2RU
  • Nearest Tube
  • Notting Hill Gate (Central Line)

Australian-born Londoner Bryan Reeves is a man on a mission. Reeves has spent much of his life travelling into the depths of Africa looking for unique works of art – at one point he was visiting 15 African countries per year on his visits, “working my way East to West with a fistful of dollars”.  As the final event in our series based around the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair, we’re visiting Bryan in his enchanting Westbourne Grove gallery where he’ll share stories garnered first hand from all corners of the continent. From the complexities of Rwandan Tutsi basketware to the bead skirts made by girls of the Iragw tribe in northern Tanzania.

Tribal influences are never far from mainstream fashion and contemporary art. Artists like Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Modigliani were inspired by tribal cultures, and today they are appreciated and their artefacts collected by the designer John Rocha, David Attenborough and Griff Rhys Jones. An exceptional evening with a real-life 21st Century adventurer, and one not to miss. JOIN US.

June 2013

A  book has just been released focusing on the rich history of tribal art in Tanzania. ‘Shahgaa – Art of Tanzania’ by Gary Van Wyk, is one of the very few books, if not the only, that digs deep into the art history in this culturally rich but largely overlooked region. In the past 20 to 30 years some fantastic pieces of traditional art have been found in Tanzania, mostly all of which have gone into private collections in Europe and America. ‘Shahgaa’ brings to light a select group of 150 of these pieces together with pieces from leading museums from around the world.A book of this quality has been well overdue.

The book accompanies the exhibitions which opened in Feb. through to May2013 at the QCC Art Gallery New York.Copies of the book can be ordered through the gallery bookstore.


The exhibition then travels to other locations.

Below are some photos of the exhibiton provided by Gary Van Wyk






Many items made for everyday use in Africa have a very close connection to modernism in their appearance. Of course, there was no real connection between the two, one was made many years ago for a purely function tribal purpose, its form and decoration inspired by their own traditional roots.The other, our western modern world can only admire and wonder at the great artistic merits of these pieces.

It has been stated many times how many of the great modern artists of the early 20th century got their inspiration from ‘tribal art’.This was more in the figurative and mask form.What wasn’t appreciated then was the functional ‘art’ – household objects, cooking spoons, furniture, pots, shields etc …many of these items have now inspired modern present day designers because of their form, practicability and simplicity.

Interior designers have learnt to mix modern interiors with tribal forms.The two go hand – in – hand, the hard edges of modern interiors are softened and given sole and personality when mixed with tribal forms.

Take a look at some of the pieces below that were purely made for traditional use yet are so modern in appearance.

Above.A early 20th cent. traditional table from East Africa with a striking Zulu pot on top.




Above. A group of fine and early wedding sticks from the Afar culture.Somalia and Ethiopia


Above. A Ethiopian throne 19th century with a very modernist shape.

Above.A early blacksmiths pliers from West Africa with wonderful form.

Above. A early 20th century Ethiopian chair with great form and shape.

Above. A well-formed stool from Ghana

Above.A chieftains hat from the Congo.Early 20th cent.


Above.Gallery interior.A group of metal and wooden shields with two wooden East African headrests.


Tribal Gathering London

1 Westbourne Grove Mews, London W112RU

Tel – + 44 7939166148   020 72216650

Collecting Tribal hats – January blog 2013

Hats have played a very important role in African traditional and social life since the 1800′s.Always with a great sense of colour and design, the variety of African traditional hats is unlimited.They always formed an important role in ceremonies as symbols of prestige and importance.A man’s hat was his personal signature, a part of his living being and presence.One look at his hat could tell his wealth, his rank in society.It was as much about who he was as anything he possessed in daily life.Because of this, hats were a crowning achievement, a symbol of status and not something that was worn for good looks alone.

Over the years I have always been interested in collecting old, rare  (and not so rare)African tribal hats as well as other forms of personal adornment.In nearly every society in Africa hats were worn in some form or another.Building a collection of hats for display is always rewarding as they bring another colourful dimension to African art.I have now in the gallery a collection of over a dozen hats from all over African, some are featured below.

Above – Beaded crown.Yoruba.Mid 20th century.
Above  - Brass warrior’s hat with ostrich feather decoration.Lotuxo – Southern Sudan.1930′s



Above – A brass helmet similar to the one pictured above photographer in 1933 Souther Sudan.

Above – A rare ceremonial hat from the Makonde of Mozambique.Bird feathers on a wicker frame with a central beaded decoration.Early to mid 20th century.

Above – A very colourful and old elders hat from the Cameroon.

Below -Three tribal hats.Two Lega hats DRC with shell decorations and one [centre] ceremonial hat from Ghana.All mid last century or before.


Above – A Lega elders hat decorated with early European buttons.Mid 20th century.


Above. A fantastic porcupine quilled ceremonial hat. Kaka – Cameroon

Above – A group of colourful woven hats worn by the Dorsi men of southern Ethiopia.  £90 each.




About the gallery.

Tribal Gathering specializes in African art and adornment from all over Africa.It has been established for more than 15 years in Notting hill area of London.