I was only a kid when my uncle Ginetto, or rather father Luigi Morello (1934 – 2005), used to ask me to go with him to his African antique dealers friends, to see and choose African art pieces, such as statues, masks, bronzes or talismans.
I was too young to completely understand the beauty of that art, because I didn’t know yet the African artistic language. And yet I noticed and comprehend one thing: the light that enlivened my uncle’s eyes, when they lingered on those works. He used to study a tribal mask or a sculpture for some time, as if those extraordinary pieces of wood put a spell on him.
I felt that those objets d’art were created for a reason; they weren’t made just in order to be exhibited but they had a functional purpose, for example being used in collective rituals by an ancient community, or for everyday life, and that’s what those signs of wear and tear testified.
At last, my uncle used to choose some pieces and to haggle over the price; thereafter going out he said: “Rhythm and symmetry, dear nephew, rhythm and symmetry!” In that way, he summarized the aesthetic principles at the heart of those products.
It has been more than twenty years by now. Since then, I nurture the passion inherited from my uncle. If I stop looking my african art collection, admiring its anthropomorphous harmony, I recall that extraordinary man who, beyond being a collector, was also a painter, an anthropology expert, a scholar but above all an enlightened priest fallen in love with the beauty of African art.