"ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA is your destination to build your knowledge about the origin, use and distinguishing features of African art pieces"
Yoruba Proverb: Ogbon dùn-ún gbon; ìmo dùn-ún mo | Wisdom and knowledge are good things to have ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA’s mission is to connect art collectors with the world’s leading dealers and scholars, based on a foundation of knowledge; knowledge about the origin, use and distinguishing features of listed pieces. We aim to give collectors unprecedented access to objects, research, cultures and people that matter in African art.
Suzanne Preston Blier (Ph.D. 1981 Columbia, Allen Whitehill Clowes Professor of Fine Arts and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University) is a historian of African art and architecture in both the History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies Departments. Her most recent book projects include Picasso’s Demoiselles: The True Origins of a Modern Art Masterpiece, Les asen: mémoires de fer forge dans l’art vodoun du Dahomey, and the forthcoming 1325: How Medieval Africa Made the World Modern. Blier's 2015 book, Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power and Identity c.1300 won the Prose Prize in Art History and Criticism. Her second book, African Vodun: Art, Psychology, and Power received the Charles Rufus Morey Prize.
Born and raised in a family of painters, Huib Blom discovered at an early age non-Western art such as the traditional arts of Africa. An unexpected turn of events brought him to Mali where he landed a job as a sales representative for a trading company. It was an excellent opportunity for combining work with travelling and experiencing other cultures and peoples. In a similar way, he spent a number of years in Nigeria and in the Sudan. Huib Blom's website is a glimpse into his lifelong interests and his book, 'Dogon Images & Traditions, is an attempt to give shape and substance to his wanderings in Dogon country.
Ilaria Pol Bodetto got her History of Art MA in 2017 at the Università degli Studi di Padova. While still at the University, she collaborated with Italian Art History website and online magazine Mostre-rò. In the last few years she has worked in Contemporary Art exhibitions such as Percezione Instabile (Venice, 2016) and in the Raccolte Etnografiche of the MUDEC museum (Milan, 2017), where she developed a strong interest towards the promotion and conservation of non-Western art forms. She is currently getting her second MA in Arts of Asia and Africa at SOAS, London.
Sandro Capo Chichi is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Paris Sorbonne Cité. His primary interest is the study of the historical arts of the Bight of Benin in West Africa.
Herbert M. Cole, known to many as Skip, taught African art history from 1968-2003 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also taught briefly at UCLA and the University of Cape Town, in South Africa. Cole is author, co-author, and editor of eleven books on African arts and 60+ essays and articles. His latest book is Maternity: Mothers and Children in the Arts of Africa, 2017. Four years of African field research centred on southeastern Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Ivory Coast. He organised 13 exhibitions of African art at UCLA, UCSB, LACMA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Mint Museum. In 2001 Cole received a Leadership Award from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (the professional body for Africanists), a lifetime achievement honour. Cole continues to publish, and he has been a consultant to museums and private collectors. Cole can be reached at email@example.com.
Kathryn Cua is an emerging curator currently based in Chicago, Illinois. Kat graduated with degrees in journalism and art history from the University of Missouri in 2018. She has worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and Sager Braudis Gallery in Columbia, Missouri. Her research interests lie in modern and contemporary American art, particularly in art of the African diaspora. In her free time, Kat is an avid reader, exhibition-goer, and contributor to ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA.
Deborah Dainese got her master's degree in Art History at Università Degli Studi di Padova in 2017. She started studying African art in 2014, analysing the Venice Biennale of 1922. After that, she focused her interests on the syncretism between Christian religion and West African art. She is currently working at the ethnographic collection of the Museo Diocesano G. P. Nonis is Vicenza.
Kevin D. Dumouchelle joined the National Museum of African Art as curator in October 2016. From 2007 to 2016, he was the Brooklyn Museum’s curator in charge of African and Pacific Islands collections. At Brooklyn, he conceived two award-winning re-installations of the African collection: 'African Innovations' (2011) and 'Double Take: African Innovations' (2014). He has written books and articles and curated a range of exhibitions on both contemporary and historical African art, including “Power Incarnate: Allan Stone’s Collection of Sculpture from the Congo” (2011) at the Bruce Museum and the Brooklyn Museum presentations of 'Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui' (2013) and 'Disguise: Masks and Global African Art' (2016).
Dr. Stephan Herkenhoff lives in Osnabrück and works as a registered specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics. For more than thirty years he has collected African art together with his wife Petra. Since 1991, the focus of the collection has been on the Lobi and their neighbours. The passion for the art of these ethnic groups is shared by the two sons Sebastian and Niklas. In the last twelve years several books on the subject of Lobi art have been published. Two of the books took part in the 'Pilat' competition. Further information can be found on Herkenhoff Tribal Art.
ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA contributor, Leif Birger Holmstedt is a designer, collector, and author of books including 'African Masks' Borgen 2003 and 'Magic Masks and Figures from Greenland' Borgen 2008. Leif Birger Holmstedt has also authored a number of ethnographic articles. This article is written based on Leif's correspondence with Frère J.A. Cornet and their conversations in Fexhe-Slins, Belgium and at Leif's home in Odense, Denmark.
Rachel Kabukala is the Curatorial Assistant for African Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and has been with the museum since 2014. She served on the exhibition team for Through the Eyes of Picasso and is currently organizing A State of the Field Convening: The Future of African Art, which will take place at the Nelson-Atkins in the spring.
ÌMỌ̀ DÁRA contributor Aurore Krier-Mariani is an art advisor at AK.A Consulting with a focus on tribal art objects. Her passion for classic African art was born when as a little girl of only seven she saw her first Punu mask and immediately felt its magnetic power. Aurore has been covering the African art industry for over five years including her studies for her Masters of Archeology and Art History, her time at Christie’s African & Oceanic Art department and now as an independent consultant for African art collectors.
Keiron LeVine, also known by the moniker KLV, is an interdisciplinary writer and artist with fauna and flora at the heart of all he creates. As an artist, KLV prefers digital collage and millinery and as a writer, he has a strong anthrozoological focus. This written aspect of KLV's work feeds the visual and opens up new avenues to explore our relationship with nature. KLV graduated with first-class honours in illustration and has exhibited at home on the Isle of Wight and in London, Berlin and Toronto. He has also featured in The Guardian and Vogue Australia.
Theophilus "Imani" Marboah is a Ghanaian-Italian medical student at the University of Pavia. Besides his medical education, Theophilus has cultivated a profound interest in the global Black experiences, with a particular focus on African and African diasporan contemporary art. His image project, “Echoes and Agreements”, was featured in Vanity Fair Italia, and has been a subject of scholarly interest.
After graduating from l’Ecole du Louvre with a speciality in Oceanic Art, Pierre Mollfulleda joined Sotheby’s Paris in March 2016 as a cataloguer and specialist in African and Oceanic arts.
John Warne Monroe is Associate Professor of History at Iowa State University. He has an B.A. in History and Creative Writing from Princeton, and a PhD. in History from Yale. His research focuses on the concept of “modernity” and the various ways in which it shaped French – and more broadly, Western – people’s conceptions of themselves, their past, and their places in the world in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is the authour of Metropolitan Fetish: African Sculpture and the French Invention of Primitive Art, a book about France, its colonial empire, African sculpture, and the invention of the idea of “primitive art” in the years after the First World War. A recent article he published on this new topic received the 2013 William Koren Jr. Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies. Prof. Monroe is also a noted teacher: he has received several university awards in recognition of his performance in the classroom, and in 2012, the Princeton Review named him one of the country’s 300 Best Professors. Photograph by Paul Wilkinson Photography.
Elio Revera is a sociologist and Cultural Anthropology lecturer at the Universita Statale of Brescia. A passionate collector of African art objects, he is also a member of the Chamber of Professional Experts. Objects from his collection have been published and exhibited in several public and private expositions in Italy, Europe and in the United States. He regularly publishes African art articles on artidellemaninere.com.
For Ex-Africa exhibition catalogue, edited by Skira, he wrote the brief essay La forza delle immagini, together with the texts that caption all the exhibited artworks - more than ninety pieces.
Ethan Rider is an African art dealer from Oakland, California who has been in the business since 2004. In 2011, he focused his business on two specific niches: African metalwork (particularly knives) and terracotta. His second book is slated for publication this year, showcasing 100 knives from more than 50 collections. Previously, he authored 'Something Magical: The Kwagh-Hir of the Tiv' (2018), and 'The Fantastic African Blades of Tilman Hebeisen' (2018).
Srdjan Sremac is Assistant Professor at the Department of Religion and Theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the co-director of the Amsterdam Center for the Study of Lived Religion at the same university. His interdisciplinary research interests include lived religion, religious aesthetics, material religion and African and Oceanic ritual art. He is also a collector of classical ritual African art.
Joris Visser's passion for African art started at a young age—his father, Jan Visser was the curator for African Art at the Tropenmuseum. Studying Art History and Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, Joris wrote his thesis on the legitimisation of African art in Western museums. He has since participated in all the 'tribal' art fairs of Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Brussels, over the last 25 years. Joris is now currently the 'tribal' art expert at Dorotheum, one of the world's oldest auction houses.
Lou Wells’ interest in African art has its origins in his driving a VW Beetle from Boston to Costa Rica (and back) in 1966. His encounter there with Pre-Columbian art led him to NYC galleries, at a time when African and Pre-Columbian were often shown together. An assignment in Liberia in 1967 did it—he realised he loved African art more than Pre-Columbian. Friendship with Rene Guyot in Monrovia provided training, and access to Harvard’s Peabody Museum publications and collections led him to track material collected by Dr. George Harley, a medical missionary in Liberia from 1926 to 1960. Gradually his interest spread to the rest of West and Central Africa. He taught at Harvard Business School from 1966 until 2012, with a research focus on foreign investment and development.
Dr. David Zemanek is a German ethnologist, expert of African and Oceanic art and a public sworn auctioneer for non-European art (Auction House Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg). He is author of several articles and publications about African art.
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