One: Egúngún tells the life story of a twentieth-century Yorùbá masquerade dance costume (egúngún), from its origins in Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́, Nigeria, to its current home in Brooklyn. Composed of over three hundred textiles from Africa, Europe, and Asia, this egúngún swirls into motion during festivals honouring departed ancestors. Centuries old, egúngún is still practised in Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, and in the Yorùbá diaspora. By highlighting a single egúngún, this exhibition emphasizes the global connections of African masquerades while challenging the misconception that cultural practices are static. At the request of the Lekewọgbẹ family—the makers of this egúngún—this exhibition honours their family name and masquerade heritage. One: Egúngún is curated by Kristen Windmuller-Luna, Sills Family Consulting Curator, African Arts, Brooklyn Museum.
“Ex Africa semper aliquid novi”, wrote Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, and this is the start for our exhibition that shows us how African and European affairs have intermingled EVER since ancient times. This will be done through ‘stories’ of art, identity, journeys and encounters, beginning with travellers’ tales and the first contacts between Europeans and Africans. The exhibition is divided into a number of sections: from formal quality expressed by large and small works to ancient objects from famous African kingdoms, together with masks and figures representing rituals and power.
The Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie, the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, pay tribute to Félix Fénéon (1861-1944), an important figure in the artistic world in the late 19th and early 20th century. Anarchist, art critic, editor, gallery director and collector, Fénéon espoused an open-minded vision of creation at a time when art was on the verge of the shift to modernity and strove for the recognition of non-western arts.
IncarNations is an exhibition created by the South African artist Kendell Geers in dialogue with the Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo. A fascinating initiative that reflects the diversity of the African artistic heritage, from an Afrocentric point of view and including the itineraries of slaves, colonialism and independence movements. As the Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne stresses: "Ethnographic museums are a negation of art because they prevent the objects on display from really looking at us. Because ethnography is constituted, at its colonial origins, as a science of what is radically other, it is in its nature to fabricate strangeness, otherness, separateness". Taken from Sindika Dokolo's impressive collection, the works of African artists enter into dialogue with those of the diaspora while contemporary works will be displayed alongside classical works. Incarnations looks at African art as a living philosophical practice.
Magdalene Odundo OBE is one of the world’s most esteemed artists working in the field of ceramics. This major exhibition will bring together more than 50 of Odundo’s works. They will be shown alongside a large selection of objects chosen by Odundo from across the globe and spanning 3000 years, to reveal the rich and diverse range of objects and making traditions that have informed the development of her own work. The Journey of Things at the Sainsbury Centre will allow Transition II to be presented in the context of Odundo’s ceramic practice.
The Snite Museum of Art African art collection will reopen this fall within a larger, more prestigious space on the main floor of the Museum. The reinstallation will explore themes of power. In the past, African art was often tied into the way African leaders promoted their agendas. Royalty and rulers used art to project their authority; religious groups promoted their faiths; while the wealthy desired to display their riches. Ordinary Africans also used art to enable them to wield their own forms of power. Since supernatural forces were thought to play a large role in determining events, it was important to own objects that could withstand or shape events that lay beyond ordinary control. Fifty-nine outstanding works from the Snite Museum collection will illustrate these ideas through themes of economic, political, social, and spiritual power in Africa. Most of these works have never been on public view before. Nearly a third belong to the Owen D. Mort Jr. Collection, with art primarily from Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mort worked for many years. As he said, “My hope is to educate people on Africa. It’s been a great love of mine… Ideally Notre Dame would use the collection for education, to get interest going in Africa.”