The Tomi van Duuren Collection of Tribal Art


One of the featured collections in this week's Oxford Library Sale is that of Tomi van Duuren.

Tomi van Duuren lived with her family in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1984-2000. She was always interested in African Tribal Art, studied the subject intensely and worked for the distinguished ‘African Heritage’ gallery in Nairobi as their Design Manager.
In addition to trading in rare tribal art, African Heritage produced and commissioned modern African art, as well as supporting cultural events, such as African fashion shows, book launches, and so forth. Keen to focus on rare tribal art, Tomi founded her own African tribal art gallery; ‘Uchuraji wa Afrika Ltd’ in Nairobi.
She developed a large network of art dealers from West, Central & East Africa and travelled extensively across the continent to supply fine tribal art pieces to discerning collectors. African masks, figures, furniture, jewellery and textiles were very much part of her collections, but she also saw the beauty of the tribal artistry found in everyday items, such as head-rests, musical instruments and cooking equipment such as the coconut scrapers on sale in this auction.
Some of Tomi’s selected pieces can be viewed in the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren (Belgium), and also made it to Christian Dior, John Galliano runway in Paris in 1995. She had always intended to continue her love of dealing in tribal art after leaving Kenya, but as their lives were taken to postings in Europe and Asia, her collection laid waiting.
She passed away in February 2020, leaving behind her extensive collection of rare African Tribal Art, a very small part of which is being sold as part of our Library sale taking place on the 19/20 August. You can view the catalogue here

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