Igbo Copyright

by zunguzungu

From Chinua Achebe’s “The Igbo World and Its Art”:

“…once made, art emerges from privacy into the public domain. There are no private collections among the Igbo beyond personal ritual objects like the Ikenga. Indeed, the very concept of collections would be antithetical to the Igbo artistic intention. Collections by their nature will impose rigid, artistic attitudes and conventions on creativity which the Igbo sensitivity goes out of the way to avoid. The purposeful neglect of the painstakingly and devoutly accomplished mbari houses with all the art objects in them, as soon as the primary mandate of their creation has been served, provides a significant insight into the Igbo aesthetic value as process rather than product. Process is motion while product is rest. When the product is preserved or venerated, the impulse to repeat the process is compromised. Therefore the Igbo choose to eliminate the product and retain the process so that every occasion and every generation will receive its own impulses and kinesis of creation…Visitors to Igboland are often shocked to see that artefacts are rarely accorded any particular value on account of age alone.

“In popular contemporary usage the Igbo formulate their view of the world as: “No condition is permanent.”