Walrus ivory head from Alaska, 200BC-100AD to be shown by Galerie Flak at the Parcours des Mondes priced in the region of €200,000. Image copyright: Vincent Girier-Dufournier, courtesy Galerie Flak.

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Parcours des Mondes, Paris’ major celebration of tribal art from around the world, stages its 20th anniversary edition this year from September 7-12, based as usual in the galleries located in the city’s Saint Germain des Près quarter.

The network of small streets in this left bank area is packed with art and antiques galleries and exhibitors. They are a mix of resident tribal art dealers and those from elsewhere who take space in some of the other galleries in this location.

This year over 40 dealers will be exhibiting at the Parcours. Although the list includes participants from Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the US, ongoing Covid-19 restrictions have placed some limits on the international exhibitor roster.

While French, particularly Parisian, dealers have always been a mainstay, this year they are more dominant, followed by participants from nearby Brussels, another major centre for tribal art.

Global coverage

The nature of the works on show, however, is truly global – spanning Africa, the Americas (North and South), Asia and the Pacific regions. Masks and carvings from Papua New Guinea will be rubbing shoulders with fetish figures from the Congo, works from the Arctic regions, terracotta figures from Venezuela, carved stone sculpture from Gandhara as well as Contemporary art from Africa.

Some of the galleries will be mounting themed displays, others focus on works from a particular continent and, as in recent years, the selection also incorporates an element of Asian artefacts and antiquities.

Discovered in the ice

Among the galleries taking part at the 20th edition of Parcours des Mondes is Galerie Flak on the rue des Beaux Arts which is presenting a themed exhibition titled Rêves Arctiques (Arctic Dreams).

This is a selection that focuses on objects from the cultures of the ‘Great North’ with prices ranging from €1000 to over €200,000.

One of the highlights will be an archaic Eskimo Okvik sculpted head made from walrus ivory, pictured above.

The 3in (8cm) high piece, which is dated to 200BC-100AD, was excavated from the permafrost on Punuk Island, Alaska, in 2012.

It featured in a sale at Bonhams San Francisco the following year and since then has passed through specialist dealers Donald Ellis and David Ghezelbash, from whom it was acquired in 2014.