During studies at Research La Craft! at Konstfack in collaboration with the Museum of Ethnography 2019-20 I chose to look at charged objects starting from the Congo collection.
Most of the artefacts in the collection from Congo in the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm are, to a large extent, collected by Swedish missionaries in the late 19th century. The majority of the objects are weapons and so-called nkisi. Nkisi are small objects, often sculptures or wearables, such as amulets or small bundles, with a charged substance hidden inside. They were often considered to be connected to spirits or ancestors and were used for guidance; to bring fortune; as a link to gods; as an intermediator of rituals; or as protection from diseases or enemies. Some of the nkisi was used by a whole community, some as personal items.
This research aims to see these charged objects, nkisi, from different points of view – the nkisi maker’s, the collector’s, the museum’s and the contemporary jeweller’s. The making and the purpose of the object is examined, as well as how they were selected into the collection, how they are presented in their new context and whether these charged objects have any relevance today.
These 6 wearable objects suggests what a “charged” objects can be in today’s secular society by using known concepts of valuation.
Pieces from A Sense of Awe and Wonder worn by colleagues from my art community.