In the redesigned "dream world" of the ArsFIGURA in Losheim - one does not only go on a journey through time, but may also experience distant countries and the African continent up close.
Africa live in the Eifel region
Bets van Boxel, one of the best porcelain character actresses ever, shows her latest works in a dreamlike scenery.
Since the Losheimer ArsFIGURA, located in the building of the famous ArsKrippana, directly at the German-Belgian border actually represents a time travel into the 19th century, the makers came up with something special for their character dolls. Embedded in an old lane from the imperial era, a "Panoptikum" was built. Around the turn of the century, strange curiosities were shown in such sceneries at fairs, exotic animals and strange people were "exhibited".
Nowadays unthinkable, Africans were put on display at that time. It's a good thing that all this is in the past.
The porcelain dolls of the Dutch artist Bets van Boxel, are literally alive, they laugh at the visitor, a lifelike scene. In the background, the lions lie in wait, the elephants are at the watering place, the leopard lazes in the tree and the monkeys play in the savannah.
The performers themselves are not fictitious as she met them personally on her travels, photographed and then cast in porcelain in a strictly limited edition of only 5 copies worldwide. Real treasures.
Thus three different African ethnicities are represented:
- Mursi and Turmi from Namibia
- Rowatema with Mola, Adissu and Tadesse
- Mirke and Balo from Ethiopia and Kalime and Algo from Guinea.
The ethnic differences of the different African tribes are beautifully represented and the special African clothing underlines the artist's will to perfection. A unique experience. As a sign of "globalisation" another Indian woman is "visiting": Orissa is the name of the young lady from the Bondo tribe. Here, the women and girls wear long pearl necklaces and metal jewellery around their necks. Around the waist they wear only a tiny hand-woven striped loincloth.
Ethnological character dolls by Bets van Boxel:
Bets van Boxel has been fascinated by people all her life. At first she expressed this passion by drawing and painting. She developed however a predilection for the three-dimensional representation of people at an early age in order to be able to adequately represent posture, mood and all the details of clothing. In particular, people in everyday situations inspire her. The children Bets and Jos met on their travels are transformed into dolls when they return home. She tries to reflect the atmosphere and character of the country and its people. If possible, she uses fabrics and accessories that she has brought herself from the respective country. Bets works with porcelain; this material, which can be preserved for centuries, has exactly the right "skin" to make a doll look as lifelike as possible.
All dolls have mouth-blown crystal eyes and wear human hair or mohair wigs. The dolls are produced in limited editions of 5 to 10 pieces. Bets van Boxel rightly calls her work "Children without Borders".
Kalime and Algo
Country of Origin: Guinea
In many exotic countries it is common for older siblings to take care of their little brothers and sisters. Kalime also takes care of her little brother Algo. The people in Guinea do not live a sedentary life. They find their food in the surrounding nature.
Mirke and Balo
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
Mirke and Balo ran into Bets in northern Ethiopia. The people live at an altitude of about 2500 meters. Therefore it is significantly colder here than in the south. Most people live from agriculture.
Rowatema with Mola, Adissu and Tadesse
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
On a round trip through Ethiopia, Bets met different tribes who still wear traditional clothes and live without western influences. It inspired them to create this Ethiopian family: a proud mother with her baby, a big sister and a little brother. The two older siblings have painted faces and all wear the traditional costumes of the Hamar tribe, who live in southern Ethiopia in the Omo River region.
Country of Origin: Comes from distant Orissa/India, and is only visiting Africa.
Description: Saris is the image of a girl from the Bondo tribe. The women and girls wear long pearl necklaces and metal jewellery around their necks. Around the waist they wear only a tiny hand-woven striped loincloth.
Mursi and Turmi
Country of Origin: Namibia
Mursi and Turmi are of the Himba tribe from the north of Namibia. The Himba are cattle breeders and feed mainly on milk, milk fat and occasionally some meat. About ten families live together in a village where cattle play a central role. In the Himba, women and children rub skin and hair with a mixture of milk fat and red earth. This is considered beautiful and protects the skin from dirt.