“Form and Function should be one, joined in spiritual union.” - Frank Lloyd Wright
In the creation of objects used in daily life, artistry + utility are combined to achieve both aesthetic and functional goals. Function and usage dictate form whether it be a pestle to pound grains or a spoon to serve food; however, artistry plays an equally important role. Often embellishments have been added to accent- uate and individualize the form, thus making an object recognizable as belonging to a particular person or clan as well as symbolizing wealth, rank, power or prestige.
A true marriage of form and function, the everyday objects include: adornments & personal objects such as wooden hair combs, hats, and pipes, as well as headrests, currency, doors & door locks, furniture, musical instruments, utensils, vessels & containers, weapons & shields, and weaving implements. Everything that we in the West label “African Art” was first and foremost a functional object among the people who made it - be it a mask used to reveal spiritual power or a door lock to provide spiritual protection. The same skill and attention to detail visible in an ancestral figurative sculpture is just as evident in a hair comb or head- rest. The spiritual forces manifested during a masked dance are the same ones that give heddle pulleys and slingshots their power. Thus, form + function combine aesthetically, physically and spiritually.
“The more useful, the more beautiful.” - African proverb