National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution Open daily 10:00am - 5:30pm Address: 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20013 The National Museum of African Art is located in the Enid Haupt Garden, alongside the Smithsonian Castle and the Sackler Gallery, near the blue and orange lines (Smithsonian) or green and yellow lines (L’Enfant Plaza) of the metro.
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Mission: To inspire conversations about the beauty, power and diversity of African arts and cultures worldwide.

Operating as usual

From the conservation archives, #NMAfAconservation paintings fellow Erica James carried out research and treatment on a ...
12/21/2020

From the conservation archives, #NMAfAconservation paintings fellow Erica James carried out research and treatment on a series of Ethiopian Orthodox Icon paintings. This diptych painting features distemper paint, gesso, and cotton cloth on wood panel and dates to around 1630-1700. Swipe to see the painting before treatment. #paintingconservation #iconpainting #Ethiopianicon #Smithsonian #NMAFA

Royal attendant. This ivory figure is one of the first two African artworks acquired by the Tishmans. A court artist car...
12/18/2020

Royal attendant. This ivory figure is one of the first two African artworks acquired by the Tishmans. A court artist carved this young woman with the distinctive coral bead jewelry and crest hairstyle of an attendant to the queen mother. A queen mother would have had her own palace with a separate court and attendants. Upon her death, the king would commission an altar in her memory. This figure was probably intended for such an altar.
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Edo artist
Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
Female figure
Early 19th century
Ivory
Exhibition: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts

#AfricanArt #Ivory #Benin #Nigeria #NMAFA #Visionary #Smithsonian

Reinventing the Past | It is likely that the biconical bead form traveled across the Sahara to West Africa in the mediev...
12/16/2020

Reinventing the Past | It is likely that the biconical bead form traveled across the Sahara to West Africa in the medieval period. Small terracotta beads with the distinctive biconical shape were made at Gao Saney; more extravagant gold beads, like the medieval Fatimid one, were likely brought across the desert as personal possessions or diplomatic gifts.
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Fulbe artist
Senegal
Biconical bead
19th to early 20th century C.E.
Gilded silver

#AfricanArt #Smithsonian #Senegal #Reinventing #Terracotta #GildedSilver #NMAFA #Fulbe

Inward vision, outward presence. Acclaimed artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby responds to the lustrous paintings of Francisc...
12/15/2020

Inward vision, outward presence. Acclaimed artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby responds to the lustrous paintings of Francisco Goya, the history of portraiture, and such personal effects as souvenirs from her wedding and that of her brother in this intimate self-portrait. She describes her mixed-media paintings as creating “a very active space where cultures come together to create something new” by juxtaposing visual cues from Nigeria, Los Angeles, and elsewhere to recognize the hybrid experience of people who move, travel, and share experiences across borders.
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Njideka Akunyili Crosby
b. 1983, Enugu, Nigeria
Works in Los Angeles, California
Wedding Souvenirs
2016
Acrylic, colored pencil, collage, and commemorative fabric on paper
Exhibition: I Am…Contemporary Women Artists of Africa

#AfricanArt #NjidekaAkunyiliCrosby #Nigeria #Smithsonian #NMAFA

Do you know someone who has a unique perspective on life in 2020? Today we're collecting stories on our website 24hours....
12/11/2020

Do you know someone who has a unique perspective on life in 2020? Today we're collecting stories on our website 24hours.si.edu. Tag a friend whose story you want us to hear. #Smithsonian24Hours

Visit 24hours.si.edu today to share your story about how your life has change during this tumultuous time. We're seeking...
12/11/2020

Visit 24hours.si.edu today to share your story about how your life has change during this tumultuous time. We're seeking stories small and large from regular people. #Smithsonian24Hours

Africa’s history truly is a world history. Gold from West Africa was the engine that drove the movement of things, peopl...
12/04/2020

Africa’s history truly is a world history. Gold from West Africa was the engine that drove the movement of things, people, and ideas across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East in an interconnected medieval world. As the incredible works in this exhibition show, it is not possible to understand the emergence of the early modern world without this West African story.

Caravans of Gold calls on what archaeologists have termed “the archaeological imagination”—the act of recapturing the past through surviving traces—to present a critical rethinking of the medieval period. Here, rare and precious archaeological fragments are seen side by side, bringing new understanding to complete works of art from the medieval period.

The exhibition responds to pressing questions of our time: How can an art museum represent a past that is notable for its absences? How can museums make sense of a material legacy that exists only in fragments? What role does imagination play in resurrecting the past?
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Possibly Abraham Cresques
1325–1387 C.E., b. Palma, Majorca, Spain
Catalan Atlas
1375
Illuminated parchment mounted on six wooden panels
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If you missed the Caravans of Gold Virtual First Look, you can watch it here: https://s.si.edu/3lJRnHL

#Smithsonian #CaravansOfGold #NMAFA #AfricanArt #WestAfrica

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!December 12, 2020KWANZAA 2020 Family Workshop!Celebrate the harvest festival known as Kwanzaa and ne...
12/03/2020

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
December 12, 2020
KWANZAA 2020 Family Workshop!

Celebrate the harvest festival known as Kwanzaa and new beginnings at African Art! Check out the flyer for more information. We hope to see you there!

#Smithsonian #NMAFA #AfricanArt #Kwanzaa #HappyHolidays

At the National Museum of African Art, we welcome students from around the world attending community colleges, undergrad...
12/01/2020

At the National Museum of African Art, we welcome students from around the world attending community colleges, undergraduate and graduate programs, and individuals in search of a career change. Here are more reflections from internship experiences at the #NMAFA from Michael Guy and Chelsea Dinkel
#Smithsonian #GivingTuesday #AfricanArtInspires #NMAFA

To support our paid internship program, visit https://s.si.edu/36shKgY

Meet our current Intern in Arts Management, Abiodun Durosinmi.  Swipe to read about his internship experience as he refl...
12/01/2020

Meet our current Intern in Arts Management, Abiodun Durosinmi.
Swipe to read about his internship experience as he reflects on his role at #NMAFA!
To support our paid internship program visit africa.si.edu

#GivingTuesday #Smithsonian #AfricanArtInspires #NMAFA

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day that inspires people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity during the holiday se...
12/01/2020

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day that inspires people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity during the holiday season. Giving Tuesday is particular special for @smithsonian_africanart this year because we are asking you to support paid internships!

All donations made today will fund future intern stipends at the museum! Click the link in bio to donate and stay tuned for more intern stories throughout the day! #GivingTuesday #PaidInternships #NMAfA #AfricanArtInspires

Photo by Somi Nwandu

Looking back at another interesting past project-#NMAfAconservation collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Coddington, entomolog...
11/30/2020

Looking back at another interesting past project-#NMAfAconservation collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Coddington, entomologist @smithsoniannmnh , who helped identify the material covering the eyes of this Bamum crest mask as spider silk egg casings (swipe to see the mask in more detail). This material likely signifies power, as ground spiders are used in divination practices in the Cameroon Grassfields region as a way of gaining access to divine knowledge.#artconservation #entomology #spidersilk

Happy Thanksgiving from the #NMAFA family to you and yours!-Batoul S’Himib. 1974, Asilah, MoroccoWorks in Martil, Morocc...
11/26/2020

Happy Thanksgiving from the #NMAFA family to you and yours!
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Batoul S’Himi
b. 1974, Asilah, Morocco
Works in Martil, Morocco
Untitled, from the series World Under Pressure
2011
Aluminum

#Smithsonian #NMAFA #AfricanArtInspires #Thanksgiving

Sweet and Savory Tastes of the SaharaDecember 16, 20202–3 p.m.Zoom WebinarTo register, click https://www.eventbrite.com/...
11/25/2020

Sweet and Savory Tastes of the Sahara
December 16, 2020
2–3 p.m.
Zoom Webinar
To register, click https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sweet-and-savory-tastes-of-the-sahara-tickets-130497723203 ; registrants will receive an email with instructions on how to access the webinar.

Egypt is not only famous for pyramids and ancient history but also for the amazing food influenced by the convergence of several civilizations in the region.

Join gourmet chef Aida Mady online as she shares her love and indigenous knowledge of Egypt’s culinary arts. Learn about the use and health benefits of traditional spices before making a special dessert.

Presented in conjunction with Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

Photo credits
Dessert image
Aiday Mady

Chef image
Courtesy of Cooking and Beyond

Back in March, #NMAfAconservation assisted @artinstitutechi textile conservators, @nublockmuseum exhibits specialists, a...
11/23/2020

Back in March, #NMAfAconservation assisted @artinstitutechi textile conservators, @nublockmuseum exhibits specialists, and the #NMAfA collectionsteam in the installation of this amazing Senegalese talismanic textile. We are thankful for collaborations with such talented colleagues! Learn more about this object in the Caravans of Gold exhibition online. #exhibitinstallation #CaravansNMAfA #CaravansofGold #Smithsonian #AfricanArt

TODAY November 19th is the virtual Caravans of Gold exhibition Celebration and we look forward to you all being there!If...
11/19/2020

TODAY November 19th is the virtual Caravans of Gold exhibition Celebration and we look forward to you all being there!
If you have not RSVP’d, what are you waiting for! Click the link in bio or check out our IG stories. RSVP closes at noon! EST

You do not want to miss this exclusive, amazing tour!
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Unidentified artists
Probably manufactured in the Western Sudan, excavated at Durbi Takusheyi, Katsina State, Nigeria
Tumulus 7
Gold
Earrings, Pendant, and Ring
13th-15th century C.E.

#CaravansofGold #NMAFA #Smithsonian

TOMORROW November 19th is the virtual Caravans of Gold exhibition Celebration and we look forward to you all being there...
11/18/2020

TOMORROW November 19th is the virtual Caravans of Gold exhibition Celebration and we look forward to you all being there. If you have not RSVP’d, what are you waiting for! Click the link in bio or check out our IG stories.

You do not want to miss this exclusive, amazing tour!

#CaravansofGold #NMAFA #Smithsonian #SneakPeek

Today is #AskAConservator Day! Ask us your questions about art conservation in the comments below and #NMAfAconservation...
11/18/2020

Today is #AskAConservator Day! Ask us your questions about art conservation in the comments below and #NMAfAconservation will reply throughout the day. Conservators around the world will be discussing their work, so follow the hashtag to see who else is participating. #artconservation @conservators

Conservator Ashley installed this beautiful Tuareg fringed leather cushion in the Caravans of Gold exhibition. Have ques...
11/16/2020

Conservator Ashley installed this beautiful Tuareg fringed leather cushion in the Caravans of Gold exhibition. Have questions about what conservators do, how to become a conservator, or how best to care for your family heirlooms? Get your questions ready for #AskAConservator Day this Wednesday, November 18th!#NMAfAconservation #artconservation #Smithsonian #CaravansNMAfA #CaravansofGold

Guided by the Stars | Mansa Musa would have encountered, and possibly employed, this type of object on his pilgrimage to...
11/12/2020

Guided by the Stars | Mansa Musa would have encountered, and possibly employed, this type of object on his pilgrimage to Mecca across the Islamic lands.�Astrolabes served many functions in the Islamic world. These highly sophisticated instruments were used to wayfind, tell time, survey land, and verify the direction of Mecca, which Muslims face when praying. The astrolabe was also used to calculate the relative position of stars and planets.
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Unidentified artist
Spain or North Africa
Astrolabe
1236–37 C.E.
Brass
Courtesy of Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL, A-71

Have you RSVP’d for the Virtual Caravans of Gold Exhibition Opening yet?
Click the link in bio to RSVP by November 18th.
We look forward to seeing you there!

#VirtualExhibitionOpening #NMAFA #AfricanArt #Smithsonian #CaravansOfGold #MansaMusa

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:Join us for a VIRTUAL first look of Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time.November 19, 2020 6 p.m. EST...
11/10/2020

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

Join us for a VIRTUAL first look of Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time.

November 19, 2020 6 p.m. EST
RSVP By Nov 18
africa.si.edu

You do not want to miss this exclusive tour!

Caravans of Gold is organized by the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University.

#Smithsonian #NMAFA #CaravansOfGold #Virtual #AfricanArt #ExhibitionOpening

#NMAfAconservation has been on site to assist with the installation of the Caravans of Gold exhibition. Want to learn mo...
11/09/2020

#NMAfAconservation has been on site to assist with the installation of the Caravans of Gold exhibition. Want to learn more about what art conservators do and how they care for the museum’s collection? Mark your calendars for #AskAConservator Day on November 18th! #ArtConservation #Installing #CaravansNMAfA #CaravansofGold @conservators #Smithsonian

Trick or....Polyolefin??? #NMAfAconservation fellow Julia has been testing these spooky plastic toys to see if she can f...
11/02/2020

Trick or....Polyolefin??? #NMAfAconservation fellow Julia has been testing these spooky plastic toys to see if she can find the right adhesive for a contemporary artwork that is made from the same class of plastics called polyolefins, which are notoriously adhesive resistant. Swipe for details. Spine tingling! These little round circles are injection mold marks that tell us how the plastic parts were made. Adrift!!
Polyolefins are less dense than other plastics, so they float! Here you can see that samples from the skeleton and the yellow pumpkin carving tool sink, while the black spider ring and purple vampire teeth float in water. Unhinged!!! A“living hinge” like the one in these vampire teeth is only possible with polypropylene, which is a polyolefin.This living hinge is a dead giveaway!#halloweeninthelab #plasticidentification #mockups#artconservation #Smithsonian #NMAFA #AfricanArt @conservators

A large part of the value of Paa Joe’s work to collectors comes from the fact that they are made by hand, for the most p...
10/26/2020

A large part of the value of Paa Joe’s work to collectors comes from the fact that they are made by hand, for the most part without the use of power tools. Even though it was not built for use as a coffin, Fort William-Anomabu was made by hand at Paa Joe coffin works (@paajoewks ) in Ghana. Next to Paa Joe’s signature on the side of the fort, #NMAfAconservation noticed an area that had been painted over. With the aid of a modified camera, we were able to use infrared radiation (the technology used in “night-vision”) to see what was written beneath the paint. Swipe to see what we found. #InfraredPhotography #ArtistSignature #ArtConservation #NMAFA #Smithsonian #Ghana #AfricanArt

Dressing to Resist Historically Asante royalty wore adinkra, large wrappers with stamped patterns, only during periods o...
10/23/2020

Dressing to Resist

Historically Asante royalty wore adinkra, large wrappers with stamped patterns, only during periods of mourning. The cloths are hand-stamped with a range of visual patterns, each representing a proverb or characteristic. Some adinkra sign systems may have their origins in the use of Islamic script and talismans by specialists at the king’s court. The term adinkra means “to employ or make use of” or “a message.” It also connotes separation or leave taking.�This cloth was worn by Asantehene (king) Prempeh I on the day the British deposed him in January 1896. Prempeh had successfully resisted British demands to relinquish Asante sovereignty for several years, but British demands for control of the region prompted them to sack and invade the capital, Kumasi. Prempeh and his followers were arrested and exiled. By wearing this cloth in his last appearance before his people for 28 years, Prempeh left the Asante people with two key visual messages—decrying the unlawful British invasion, while retaining his rights and status as king.
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Asante artist
Ashanti Region, Ghana
Adinkra (wrapper) owned by Asantehene Prempeh I
Before 1896 C.E.
Imported cotton cloth, black pigment

#NMAFA #Smithsonian #Adinkra #Ghana #Textiles #Caravans

All the Way to England | In 1992 a shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Devon, England. The ship sank in the mid-17...
10/22/2020

All the Way to England |

In 1992 a shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Devon, England. The ship sank in the mid-17th century C.E., and its cargo included more than 400 gold coins, most of them minted in Morocco, as well as North African gold ingots and jewelry. Mostly worn and broken, these gold objects were on their way to be melted down and repurposed by the British Crown.�Today, these rare items provide a glimpse into late medieval North African goldwork. The fragment of a clasp is among the earliest surviving examples of a form—the fibula—that has become an iconic symbol of Saharan jewelry.
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Unidentified artist
Manufactured in North Africa
Found at Salcombe Cannon Site, Devon, England
Fragment of a clasp and pendant
Gold
The British Museum, London, England, 1999,1207.474 and 1999,1207.469

#NMAFA #Smithsonian #Gold #NorthAfrica

NEW ACQUISITIONS | Looking. In this canvas, a confident woman in a scarlet dress and matching hat emerges from a swirlin...
10/21/2020

NEW ACQUISITIONS | Looking.

In this canvas, a confident woman in a scarlet dress and matching hat emerges from a swirling backdrop of blue and black. She holds in her hands a pair of binoculars as she looks purposefully off into the distance—unaware or unconcerned that someone may be looking at her.
In an era in which figurative painting has been underappreciated, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has embraced the genre through her understanding of color, surface, composition, and economy of line. The characters that inhabit her work are based on neither acquaintances nor models; rather, she works according to categories, such as views of backs, full-length figures, and seated figures.
After completing her paintings, Yiadom-Boakye pairs them with evocative titles that may refer to a place, day, or literary fragment. Her titles seem to heighten the tension between the reality and fiction of her characters. Womanology 12 suggests there might be earlier works in a series we have yet to encounter. The artist has dropped us into the middle of a story for which we must imagine the past and future.
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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
�b. 1977, London�
Womanology 12�
2014�
Oil on canvas�
Museum purchase, 2015-5-1
Exhibition: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts

#NMAFA #Smithsonian #AfricanArtInspires

Address

950 Independence Avenue
Washington D.C., DC
20560

General information

Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit. We hope you’ll contribute to this interactive forum and to our ongoing conversation about the work we do to further the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge. While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors and may remove posts consistent with its terms of use, as described at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen. For our Privacy Policy: http://www.si.edu/Privacy --------------------- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art is the only national museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, exhibition, conservation and study of the arts of Africa. The building houses the museum’s collection, exhibition galleries, public education facilities, an art conservation laboratory, a research library and photographic archives. Collections The museum’s collection of more than 10,000 African art objects represents nearly every area of the continent of Africa and contains a variety of media and art form—textiles,Photography, sculpture, pottery, painting and jewelry and video art—dating from ancient to contemporary times. The museum has the largest publicly held collection of contemporary African art in the United States. Exhibitions The museum has nearly 22,000 square feet of exhibition space, which is reconfigured periodically to meet the requirements of the museum’s changing exhibitions. The Sylvia H. Williams Gallery, located on sub-level one, is devoted primarily to contemporary art; the Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection has a dedicated space in the museum to rotate a selection of the 525 objects from this collection; and the remaining galleries offer exhibitions on various subjects. Education and Research The National Museum of African Art offers a variety of educational programs, including lectures, films, storytelling, musical performances, young people’s workshops, teacher’s workshops, and conservation and curatorial clinics. The museum also has programs and activities at Washington, D.C., area schools and embassies. The Warren M. Robbins Library, named for the museum’s founder, is a branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries system and supports research, exhibitions and public programs of the museum. It is the major resource center in the world for the research and study of the visual arts of Africa, and houses more than 32,000 volumes on African art, history and culture. It is open to scholars and the general public by appointment Monday through Friday. The museum also houses the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, named for the famed Life magazine photographer. Elisofon’s association with the National Museum of African Art began as a founding trustee in 1964. Upon his death in 1973, he donated his African related materials to the museum, including more than 50,000 black-and-white negatives and photographs, 30,000 color slides and 120,000 feet of motion picture film and sound materials. The bequest became the foundation for the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:30
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:30
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:30
Thursday 10:00 - 17:30
Friday 10:00 - 17:30
Saturday 10:00 - 17:30
Sunday 10:00 - 17:30

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Cecilia Lamptey-Botchway Aburi: Relaxing in the Royal Garden 46” x 36” (116.84cm x 91.44cm) Signed and Dated: 2019, Bottom Right Oil On Canvas #Defia #DefiaGallery #DefiaArt #DefiaArts #Art #Arts #Paintings #AfricanArt #GhanaArt #GhanaianArt #OilPainting #OilArt #OilOnCanvas #Artwork #Painting #DefiaArtGallery #DefiaGallery #DefiaArtExhibition #Figure #OilPaint #CeciliaLamptey
RED CHAIR OIL, MOPPING WOOL FIBER, AND ACRYLIC 48” BY 48" [email protected] #GALLERY1957#AFRICANART#AFRICANARTNEWS#AFRICANAMERIVANART RED CHAIR We all have our favorite chairs at home. The chair BECOMES … A symbol of rest. A symbol of stress releases. A symbol of being in tune with yourself. For me, it is the RED CHAIR. The RED CHAIR is my symbol of joy and good fortune. Red is one of the first colors used by artists dating back to prehistory.
Yellow Dress Oil, Acrylic, Mopping Wool Fiber on Canvas 47 cm by 35 cm 2020 Yellow dress Yellow is a warm colour accounting for happiness and optimism Yellow is happiness Yellow is a warm color accounting for happiness and optimism
[email protected]_Art_Gallery. My African-centered Batik Art Home Creations, Limited Edition Series
Title: Mystical African Woman in Spirit and Form: Series #4 Medium: Mixed media, computer panels, acrylic on canvas Size: 40” by 30” Year: 2018 This is a series of my paintings capturing the DIVINITY of the African Woman. The African Woman as DIVINE gives birth to creativity which continually replenishes and sustains our community and society
Title: AYAK: The body as political. Restoring our honor, beauty and dignity Medium: Acrylic on Canvas Size: 44” by 31” Year: 2018 This painting was inspired by a TIMES Magazine cover story, on victims of rape as a weapon of war. In the story Ayak from SOUTH SUDAN poses while nine months pregnant because of being raped repeatedly while fleeing South Sudan to a UN refugee camp. As the news report indicated, “the very act of photographing Ayak and her unborn child gave her the opportunity to celebrate the very thing her perpetrators had tried to rob from her – her beauty and her dignity.”
When r you reopening
My motifs as Art (Vol1): Each square in this creation tells a story. What is that story? I will leave that for the observer to unravel. Historically speaking, motifs rightly identified, serve as a repository of information about African belief systems and culture. These motifs in the form of symbols represent concepts personified in human and animal forms and geometric shapes. In my art, I want to communicate them as profound philosophical statements in African cosmology. Join me in that conversation. African [email protected]_Art_Gallery
Title: Mystic African Women in Spirit and Form Series #2 Medium: Mixed Media, Computer Panel, Acrylic on Canvas Size: 75” by 75” Year: 2019 Signed and dated This painting is part of a series on Womanhood in AFRICA. The painting invites the audience to see women as the foundation of African societies. The use of computer panels is my metaphor for the potent but unseen power of Women in African cultures. Let's celebrate the joys of Motherhood and Womanhood!
I've had the below mask for about 15 years - and would really like to find out a bit more about it. I have no idea if it's authentic or fake - but would still be interested to find out what it represents and what it might have been used for. I think it's possibly a Ngil Fang Mask?? Please are you able to help me identify it and find out a bit more about it's history? Thanks.
Ida sword