HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English about the intertwined works of the artist Carl Arriens and Africanist anthropologist Leo Frobenius in the latter’s famous book, Und Afrika Sprach (The Voice of Africa).
Fardon, Richard & Richard Kuba, 2021. “Adding Colour to Und Afrika Sprach: Carl Arriens’ Image and Leo Frobenius’ Text” (Colourization by Agnès Boulmer), in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
The prolific artist Carl Arriens, one of three European members of Leo Frobenius’s fourth Africa expedition to Nigeria and Kamerun in 1910–12, provided many of the striking images that accompany the text of Frobenius’s monumental account of their research, quickly published in the three volumes of Und Afrika Sprach (The Voice of Africa) in 1912–13. In this illustrated essay Fardon and Kuba draw upon a range of evidence, including archives and ethnography as well as the published narrative, to question the relationship between what the members of the expedition did and saw, and how their experience went on to be represented to a readership in words and images. Their analysis was provoked by Arriens’s vivid depiction of a scene that, at once, could never have occurred and yet is congruent both with the text and with other images. Using this as an exemplary instance, their analysis radiates out to examine a range of images in different mediums that reflect concerns and presumptions shared by the narrative. Arriens’s exemplary image, they conclude, was produced by a technique of totalizing combinatorial collage, which is also, the two authors argue, the method behind Frobenius’s evocations of The Voice of Africa.