Griff Rhys Jones sets off on a series of extraordinary adventures to discover the remarkable artistic treasures of the world’s most authentic cultures. Travelling to Australia, India and Africa, Griff explores the precious indigenous practices which continue to survive in an increasingly industrialised world, revealing the value these hidden treasures still hold in the 21st Century.
Episode 1: Australian Art
Griff crosses the globe to visit the remote Torres Strait Islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea, exploring what remains of an unusually creative and warlike culture. The artistic masks produced by the tribe he encounters here are infused with mystic magic and sorcery so closely guarded that before Griff can reveal their beauty, he must first convince the tribe to let him see their handiwork.
Episode 2: African Art
Next, Griff travels to West Africa to discover the practice behind the antique carvings of the region, which can end up commanding million pound price tags at high society auctions. In a revelatory journey which ends in Accra, Ghana, Griff learns that the blending of cultural history with modern reality has had a surprising influence on invention and creativity in contemporary West Africa.
Episode 3: Indian Art
Finally, Griff ventures to India in search of exquisite textiles, hoping to solve the mystery of an extraordinary Indian floor cloth which has been in Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, for over 300 years. Observing and absorbing the beautifully intricate techniques which produce these textiles, Griff considers the value of such incredible handiwork in this modern, mechanical age.
Australian Art : Produced and Directed by Michael Waldman
African Art: Produced and Directed by Harry Hook
Indian Art: Produced and Directed by James Runcie
Executive Producers: Liz Hartford and Adam Barker
First transmitted 25th February – 11th March 2011 on BBC TWO & BBC HD
‘An illuminating series’
‘A sumptuously colorful exploration‘
The Daily Telegraph
‘An Artistic Odyssey‘
The Mail on Sunday