The Asante­ people of Ghana believe one’s wisdom and ability to present an argument or express an opinion on any issue is gauged by the individual’s ability to draw upon proverbs to support or make their case and to use symbolic gestures reinforcing the discussion. When a proverb is supported by a visual image, its metaphorical meaning is literally raised to another level of subtlety and statement. Daniel Mato, Professor Emeritus of African Art History, University of Calgary, Canada, has attempted to understand and document this complex relationship of word and image, forming the subject of his research for more than 40 years. His discussion illustrates how this verbal/visual nexus shows itself through sculptured figures, symbolically stamped cloths, and gestures, and how it evokes the way in which proverbs and sayings shaped them.

This is a private event for Friends of African and Oceanic Art.