African art has been maligned in the writings of Western scholars who have failed to understand its source and origin… In private collections, African artworks become transfixed on the mantelpiece in wooden cubicles, bathed in a caressing interplay of lights, but with very little or no reference—suggested or amplified—to their contextual use of significance. Although we derive pleasure in appreciating these objects ex-situ, there is the danger of their being unduly romanticized. It is a danger that can be avoided if we would allow the arts to lead us into renewing our contact with Africa, and into a greater and more intimate appreciation of the cultures and the peoples of the continent. It is within this context that collection of traditional African art in private, public or academic holdings derives stronger legitimacy… The arts can be used to disprove racial innuendos and to re-direct the black man and woman towards the realization of positive self-affirmation. They can be used not only as indices of aesthetic cognition, but equally as important tools in stemming the marginalization of the blacks’ contributions to world civilization.
~ Dele Jegede (“Art for Life’s Sake: African Art as a Reflection of an Afrocentric Cosmology”)