Having come from the African continent, this sculptural artwork is imbued with different symbolic meanings and serves various purposes. Around 100 items on display showcase a whole array of forms, commitment to tradition and ideological potential of these ritual objects. Today, now that the masks have nearly become the epitome of modern times, many facets of this art of African sculpture can be interpreted anew. The exhibition is organised in partnership with the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) and features pieces from a private collection.
Since the 14th century the Baga have been living along the coast in Guinea Conakry on the western tip of Africa. They were subjected to repeated attacks by the peoples of the region, at the end of the 19th century by the French, and in 1958 power was transferred to a Muslim-Marxist leadership. The new government forbade religious ceremonies, and ritual art was systematically destroyed; Many Baga members converted to Islam but secretly kept their traditional animistic customs as well as works used in ceremonies. In 1984, rigid discipline loosened and residents, most of them Muslims, were allowed to observe their tradition, as part of "folklore," as opposed to "religion." Collector Michael Weiss has spent about a decade searching for and collecting traditional ritual objects. Works from his collection are displayed alongside sculptures and baguette masks from the museum's collection and the exhibition unfolds the story of the collection, the encounter and the collaboration with the locals.
This year, the Summer Exhibition will be coordinated by renowned artist Yinka Shonibare RA. The exhibition will explore the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’ and celebrate the joy of creating art. Yinka Shonibare will be working with a committee of Royal Academicians, chaired by the President of the Royal Academy, Rebecca Salter. The members of the 2021 Summer Exhibition committee will be: Tony Bevan, Vanessa Jackson, Mali Morris, Humphrey Ocean, Eva Rothschild, Bob and Roberta Smith, Emma Stibbon and David Adjaye.
Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa is the first major exhibition addressing the scope of Saharan trade and the shared history of West Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe from the eighth to sixteenth centuries. Weaving stories about interconnected histories, the exhibition showcases the objects and ideas that connected at the crossroads of the medieval Sahara and celebrates West Africa’s historic and under-recognised global significance. Presenting more than 250 artworks spanning five centuries and a vast geographic expanse, the exhibition features unprecedented loans from partner institutions in Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria, many of which will be seen in North America for the first time.
Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, is the premier museum solo exhibition for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. The show is a presentation of over 20 works created between 2018-2021. Soul of Black Folks is a timely exploration into the varying strategies that Boafo employs within his practice to capture the essence of the Black figure. Variables such as COVID-19, the constant resistance against systemic oppression, and the commodification of Black bodies in the media are some of the issues that heighten this exhibition’s urgency. These concerns invite the questions – where can Black people find a respite from society’s ills? Furthermore, how can Boafo’s work inspire and teach us about Black life and humanity?
Thread for a Web Begun, Malawi-born, Johannesburg-based artist, Billie Zangewa’s first solo U.S. museum exhibition will include examples of the artist’s work from the past 15 years, as well as new pieces made specifically for the show. The exhibition comes at an important time for Zangewa, whose career has developed primarily in Europe and South Africa. This exhibition will bring her work to entirely new audiences across the United States.