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 DMA’s Conservation and Arts of Africa departments, in an exciting and cutting-edge collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center, will present CT scans of a Senufo helmet mask from the Museum’s African art collection. This kind of mask is worn like a helmet by a medium at initiations, funerals, harvest celebrations and secret events conducted by the powerful male-only Komo society, which has traditionally maintained social and spiritual harmony in Senufo villages in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Visible attachments on the mask include a female figure, cowrie shells, and imported glassware. The CT-scans reveal unexpected materials beneath the surface and objects contained in the attached animal horns that empower the mask.
This exhibition highlights artistic innovation and creativity in Africa as seen primarily through the traditions of ceramic arts from across the continent and over its long history. Countering the assumption that African arts and societies are largely unchanging and bound to traditions and customs, the remarkable diversity of objects and styles on display here tells a different story. A selection of more than 50 works on loan from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, including those by newly discovered Nigerian artist Alice Osayewe, are shown alongside works from the Harvard Art Museums permanent collections, such as a recently acquired contemporary photograph by Afro-futurist artist Alexis Peskine.