We continually carry out extensive research of the history and condition of items in the Dela Collection.  We remain cognisant, however, that establishing authenticity for African art objects has been a concern of academics, museum curators, collectors and gallery dealers for more than 50 years.


Early studies focused on establishing categories based on style that unfortunately did not fully reflect the diversity of materials and forms worked in Africa much less their value to African peoples. Objects that were made in Africa – in a recognized ethnic style – by African Artists for African patrons were classified as authentic. Although useful, there are limitations to such an approach. The awareness of style as a fluid and multidimensional concept is basic to understanding the dynamics of African art. There are many levels in which style can function and these range from an individual level to a large cultural area. The style of any ethnic group consists of the varied individual and local styles of particular periods and media.

Moreover, ethnic groups in Africa are not and have never been hermetically sealed, static units but rather characterized by shifting patterns reflecting migrations, borrowings, adaptations and various types of internal change. It is therefore necessary to recognize change and adaptation when attempting to establish authenticity.

To this end, as African gallerists, we at the Dela Collection, hold that re-investing in supporting cultural development and empowering contemporary artists as part of our CSR policy is the most sincere warranty of authentic African Art.  To this end, the Dela Collection commits part of all profits to developing the arts across the African diaspora.  We believe that this commitment will further nurture and highlight the great possibilities of the African continent.

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