From 25 November to 4 December, we are proud to announce Sotheby's first online auction devoted entirely to art from Africa, Oceania, Indonesia, and the Americas. The selection of artefacts, presented alongside Contemporary Art and emblematic Design pieces, will celebrate the prodigious formal creation by artists from these continents and their impact on 20th Century Art.
Among African cultures, deceased ancestors remain important members of the community who are revered in the afterlife. They are venerated by surviving family and community members who ask for divine intercession from their forebears in matters related to wealth, fertility, and agricultural prosperity. This exhibition focuses on NOMA’s recently acquired akwanshi stone monolith from the Cross River region of Nigeria, supported with figures and objects rendered in part or whole in stone from other regions of West Africa. The show speaks to the significance of stone as both a natural element and a significant material in the veneration of ancestors. Although carved stones represent ancestors, uncarved stones may also represent ancestors. Such characteristics suggest the importance of stone to this and other African cultures.
The Linden-Museum Stuttgart presents its new permanent exhibition "Wo ist Afrika?" from 16 March 2019. "Wo ist Afrika?" invites the visitor to critically explore and re-evaluate contexts and narratives associated to Linden-Museum Stuttgart’s collection of artefacts from the African continent. The exhibition shows how the collections were established, how they developed over time, and which rules of classification they adhered to. A large part of the objects on display were acquired from Cameroon, the Congo basin, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania between the end of 19th and the first half of the 20th, at the height of the European "Scramble for Africa". "Wo ist Afrika?" examines stories and histories inscribed into these objects and what they can mean for us today. The exhibition opens up a space of cultural creativity, which allows the visitors to near themselves to a wider understanding of culture. "Wo ist Afrika?" has a process-oriented approach, questioning the authority of the museum by showing a multitude of parallel narratives and asking important questions addressed to our contemporary societal cohabitation.
The Summer Exhibition has run without interruption since 1769 and we don’t intend to break that streak in 2020. It is the world’s largest open submission art show, and anyone can apply to enter. Each year, a committee of diverse artists choose an array of art in all mediums – prints and paintings, film and photography, sculpture, architectural works and more – for everyone and anyone to enjoy. You’ll see work by leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names, as well as new and emerging talent you might not know. So, explore art you love, art you hate, and art that simply puts a smile on your face.
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.