Our New Installation: “Africa: Arts of The Continent”

When I recently walked through the Museum’s new Africa: Arts of a Continent installation, I was blown away by the variety of inspiring, striking objects. My thoughts drifted from our current time to the afterlife, from the intrigue of magical fetishes to the magic of masquerade. After my journey in the galleries was over, I wanted to find something that would be both fascinating and relevant to readers. What I came up with was a wealth of information about Egyptian and African art that I hope will enhance your Museum experience and/or persuade you to explore our new installation. Enjoy!

One of the UMFA’s most influential donors was the late ballerina, designer, and Egyptologist, Natacha Rombova. Learn more about Robova’s life, what she believed in, and how she influenced Egyptology at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natacha_Rambova.

View African art in the past, present and future at the Museum for African Arts at http://www.africanart.org/index.php. Particularly interesting are the feature articles about jewelry in North Africa and Congolese urban art.

A unique site created by the Netherlands Museum of Art for contemporary art, which features masks made out of everyday materials http://www.vmcaa.nl/vm/. Many of the objects featured in the UMFA’s Africa: Arts of a Continent were also made from everyday materials for everyday use; they hold symbolic as well as utilitarian value.

The Gold of Africa Museum in Cape Town, South Africa is a unique venue that “entices visitors to experience the ancient, sometimes mystical relationship that exists between gold and the African continent.” Explore this museum here: http://www.goldofafrica.com/. In addition, be on the lookout for two small objects in the Africa: Arts of a Continent exhibition that contain gold.

And finally, where you may see a bag of bottle caps, artist El Anatsui sees a traditional African tapestry. Read this New York Times article about Anatsui, who creates art by blending old African techniques with modern art. His work includes a 13ft x 19ft tapestry made out of liquor bottle tops and copper wire. http://tiny.utah.edu/el.anatsui

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