Women, Cosmetics And The Origins Of Art

Evening talk

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Camilla Power

Women, Cosmetics And The Origins Of Art

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 18:45

Camilla Power has published widely on the origins of art, bringing out the importance of gender relations. She has made a special study of the cave paintings and Venus-figurines of Upper Palaeolithic Europe, asking whether the artists were likely to have been men or women, and whether the recurrent female imagery was intended to represent matriarchal power. She will argue that one interpretive approach is to draw on evidence from the lives and ritual experiences of extant hunter-gatherers such as the Hadza of Tanzania, among whom her fieldwork was conducted.

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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

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Camilla Power

Laughing At The Gods: Bushman Trickster Tales
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton St, off Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Recently, it has been argued that no truly egalitarian societies exist since even those which appear to show equality in real life still have beliefs in dominant divine forces. In this talk, Camilla Power examines the role of the main supernatural entity of Khoisan Bushman peoples, the 'Trickster’. Denizen of First Creation, Trickster shows repeated characteristics of counter- and reverse dominance. He or she switches between an awesome or cosmic aspect – guarding game animals or bleeding initiates – and a weird, comical figure who is mean, cheating, greedy and lecherous, chopping off bits of the body which then behave extremely badly. Can the diverse versions of Trickster be reconciled and is there any underlying logic to them? A number of Khoisan stories will be narrated and discussed to reveal what they have in common. The Trickster expresses cycles of time and oscillation between periods of taboo and relaxation of taboo.