This is the first work to pay due tribute to the wealth and diversity of Madagascar’s traditional art. In all spheres, from daily life on earth to existence in the hereafter and the techniques of magic and soothsaying used to put the two in contact with each other, Madagascan artists have always given free rein to their imagination and manifold skills. Sometimes the artists’ creations are unique, just like their incomparable island, and at others they draw their inspiration from one of the many Austronesian, African, Indian, or Arabian peoples which the sea currents and favourable winds have always brought to this island over the centuries. Whether everyday objects, magic charms, or funerary statues, these works aroused considerable interest among the first European observers, whose chronicles and pictures act as the common thread running through the book.
Long and thorough research through public and private collections in the four corners of the earth has made it possible to gather together the most representative and most aesthetically pleasing paintings and sculptures of a culture that has been relatively neglected up to the present. The decision to publish this book in an unusual format means it can accommodate a number of wonderful photographs taken by renowned photographers, thus doing full justice to the stunning beauty of these artworks.
Bertrand Goy has spent many years in Africa and Madagascar. Following a career as a senior executive in industry, he now devotes himself to the history of primitive art. He is a member of the Société des Africanistes and the author of numerous essays and books dealing especially with the art of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Mali. He won the Auguste Pavie Prize, awarded by the Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, for Jaraï: arts de guerre et de mort chez les montagnards d’Indochine in 2006, and the 2013 International Tribal Art Book Prize for Côte d’Ivoire: premiers regards sur la sculpture.