A Perfect Power: Motherhood and African Art

Baltimore, United States

June 01, 2020 - January 17, 2021 Exhibition June 01, 2020 January 17, 2021 Europe/London A Perfect Power: Motherhood and African Art The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, MD, 21218: Baltimore, United States

Event Details

Across central Africa’s matrilineal belt, the most important artworks were those that depicted the female body. In these 19th and early 20th century communities, group identity and familial responsibility flowed through the maternal line. Artists responded to this reality by sculpting visual markers of motherhood onto a range of objects associated with status and authority. In these societies, mothers not only created life and nurtured families but also stood at the centre of the moral order, ensuring the continuity of entire communities. From monumental headdresses of elderly mothers to sculptures that represent mythic female ancestors, this exhibition brings together nearly 40 objects from public and private collections to demonstrate how artists have represented the power of African mothers and used maternal imagery to signal moral, cultural, and spiritual authority.

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