Comedian, writer and traveller Griff Rhys Jones sets off on a series of adventures to discover what extraordinary treasure is still being created in far off places by the indigenous people of today. A collector and enthusiast himself, Griff undertakes some hazardous quests into remote corners of the world with strong artistic traditions, to find out what remains of this unfettered self expression and to discover the ideas that underpin their creativity. Each area has a rich and ancient cultural history that in some cases pre-dates ours in the West. Over three episodes Griff visits Australia, Africa and India where art has been invested with very particular powers and qualities. These include having a magical/spiritual/function, playing a role in safeguarding a culture/belief system and exerting a power that can change the lives of individuals and whole societies. But in a rapidly changing world, can traditional art survive? What meaning does it still have? PART 1 - AUSTRALIA Griff crosses the globe to the remote Torres Strait Islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea to explore what remains of an unusually creative and warlike culture. Cut off from the rest of the world for most of their history, the Islanders were fierce head-hunters who believed in magic and sorcery. What made their art so striking and powerful? Why are the islanders so reluctant to give up their secrets? And can Griff solve the mysteries surrounding a strange and compelling mask?' PART 2 - AFRICA Griff Rhys Jones continues his quest to find traditional art in remote places by travelling to West Africa. Antique carvings from the region can fetch millions of pounds but what makes a pieceGÇÖ authenticGÇÖ and are they still being made? Is there such a thing as pure African art? Has there ever been? Griff starts his investigation in the Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali where the Dogon people have used their carvings and sculptures as a spiritual tool to help them survive. But can belief in the power of these objects survive the march of modernity? In a revelatory journey which ends in Accra the capital of Ghana, Griff learns that the passage of history and modern realities have had surprising results on invention and creativity in contemporary West Africa. PART 3 - INDIA In his quest to find out if traditional art still thrives amongst the indigenous people of the world, Griff Rhys Jones goes to India in search of exquisite textiles. Can he solve the mystery of an extraordinary Indian floor cloth kept in Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire for over 300 years? Who made it and does the skill that produced such a work still exist? Griff travels to Gujarat in India famed throughout history for its beautiful hand made textiles. He goes off the beaten tracks to the towns and villages of the North West plains and discovers how centuries old printing and dyeing and embroidery techniques are still the cornerstones to a way of life and are full of meaning. Finally, to the heart of one of the most reclusive and fiercely traditional societies in India, The Rabari, famed for their toughness and their astonishing embroidery. But can the custom of spending decades making dowry gifts survive in the 21st century?
Hidden Treasures with Griff Rhys Jones
Griff Rhys Jones ponders: