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Art for the Ages: Raising Awareness of Prehistoric African Rock Art (Conservation Matters lecture)

Date: Thursday, March 15, 2007
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

African rock art is among the world's oldest surviving art, predating writing in many cases by tens of thousands of years. In this free lecture presented by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Leakey Foundation, the largest private funder of human origins research in the United States, photographer David Coulson demonstrates that African rock paintings and engravings are magnificent works of art comparable to the finest works in the world's art museums.

Coulson presents color photos and line drawings that detail elements of these complex compositions, from 20-foot-tall giraffes carved into stone in Niger's Air Mountains to a (probably) 6,000-year-old Libyan painting of a hairdressing scene.

About African Rock Art
Ancient artists throughout Africa produced stunning work that survives to this day on boulders and cliffs and in caves. This art helps us understand how our ancestors thought about, saw, and portrayed their world. There are over 500,000 rock art sites throughout Africa, and together they provide an artistic archive of human thought, creativity, and imagination stretching back at least 29,000 years.

While the Paleolithic cave and rock art of Western Europe is better known, African rock art is more diverse chronologically, stylistically, geographically, and ichnographically (in its markings) than any other rock art in the world. Long overlooked by scholars of African art, this aspect of Africa's artistic heritage has recently garnered increased attention.

Learn about rock art around the world in Conservation, the magazine of the Getty Conservation Institute.

About David Coulson
David Coulson is the founder of TARA, the Trust for African Rock Art, which is dedicated to the awareness and preservation of Africa's ancient paintings and engravings. TARA's work has been supported by the Getty Conservation Institute, the National Geographic Society, the Ford Foundation, and embassies across the world. Coulson is also a consultant to the United Nations Environment Program and a fellow of the National Geographic Society, and his articles on rock art have been featured in Time, National Geographic, and other national and international publications. He has published five major books, including Mountain Odyssey, Different Drums, The Lost World of the Kalahari, Namib, and African Rock Art, Paintings and Engravings on Stone, coauthored with Alec Campbell.

About Conservation Matters
Conservation Matters is a series of occasional lectures hosted by the Getty Conservation Institute examining conservation issues from around the world.

African Rock Art / Coulson

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