National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution Open every say 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except for Tuesdays
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Community Day is on! Join us today for curator led tours, fashion showcases, drummers circles, hair workshops, food tast...
09/30/2023

Community Day is on! Join us today for curator led tours, fashion showcases, drummers circles, hair workshops, food tasting & dancing into the night.

Join our Workshop Series with Khalid ThompsonAfro abstraction, creating the moment, intuitive painting and drawing, expr...
07/07/2023

Join our Workshop Series with Khalid Thompson

Afro abstraction, creating the moment, intuitive painting and drawing, expressionism

RSVP via link in bio and follow us on Eventbrite for the latest info about our upcoming events โ˜๐Ÿฟ

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€โšง๏ธWe at the Smithsonianโ€™s National Museum of African Art () acknowledge and celebrate all artists working to repr...
07/01/2023

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€โšง๏ธWe at the Smithsonianโ€™s National Museum of African Art () acknowledge and celebrate all artists working to represent + centered stories.

Under the leadership of curator Kevin D. Dumouchelle (), we are thrilled to announce the development of a new exhibition and publication featuring out artists whose artwork and often intimately connected activist practices are connected to their identities and
experiences as LGBTQ+ individuals.

Centering the voices of LGBTQ+ artist activists making work about their identity in and about Africa, this project seeks to build upon narratives and actions that confirm the existence, longevity, breadth, and dynamism of LGBTQ+ communities in Africa and its global diaspora. It also hopes to help strengthen and extend networks of communication and collaboration between and among artists and activists.

Kevin has an excitingโ€”and growing!โ€”list of confirmed and potential collaborators and looks forward to sharing more as the project develops. (And, to that end, he also welcomes any tips or suggestions for voices that should not be overlooked. Share below, or tag him directly.)

While 2023 may be concluding, we are bringing the spirit of forward into our work in the years to come. Watch this space. ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€โšง๏ธ

***
Imaged (from the collection) โ€“ work by , , , and

The Joy of African MovementsMentally and physically recharge Saturday mornings using a variety of ancient and contempora...
06/28/2023

The Joy of African Movements
Mentally and physically recharge Saturday mornings using a variety of ancient and contemporary African practices.
RSVP via link in bio and follow us on Eventbrite for the latest info about our upcoming events โ˜๐Ÿฟ

Celebrate the first Saturday of summer with us!Solstice Saturday kicks off with NMAFA's Sounds of Africa concert series ...
06/21/2023

Celebrate the first Saturday of summer with us!

Solstice Saturday kicks off with NMAFA's Sounds of Africa concert series celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop!
Come and enjoy an afternoon of music, tours, and traditional African games.
Beverages, food, and fun await.
Museum store is open until 10 p.m., and all galleries are open until midnight!

Solstice Saturday
June 24, 2023
5:30 p.m.โ€“midnight
National Museum of African Art

Register here : https://t.ly/yDQ2
For the latest info about upcoming events, follow us on EventBrite

Art-based therapy, emotional wellness, self-expression, and healingRSVP via link in bio and follow us on Eventbrite for ...
06/09/2023

Art-based therapy, emotional wellness, self-expression, and healing

RSVP via link in bio and follow us on Eventbrite for the latest info about our upcoming events โ˜๐Ÿฟ

๐Ÿงต This gourd container has a hand-sewn bamboo extension on its mouth and lid allowing it to seal shut. It was used for s...
05/31/2023

๐Ÿงต This gourd container has a hand-sewn bamboo extension on its mouth and lid allowing it to seal shut.

It was used for selling to***co in the market.

๐Ÿ”ŽContainer with lid, late 20th century, Undetermined artist, Kaolack, Senegal

๐Ÿงต This gourd container has a hand-sewn bamboo extension on its mouth and lid allowing it to seal shut. It was used for s...
05/30/2023

๐Ÿงต This gourd container has a hand-sewn bamboo extension on its mouth and lid allowing it to seal shut.

It was used for selling to***co in the market.

๐Ÿ”ŽContainer with lid, late 20th century, Undetermined artist, Kaolack, Senegal

This is one of those moments when art depicts moments in history.๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ The painting depicts the events of the morning of No...
05/29/2023

This is one of those moments when art depicts moments in history.

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ The painting depicts the events of the morning of November 24, 1964 at the airport in Stanleyville (now Kisangani) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city was under the control of the Simbas, rebel forces that held a large number of hostages, both foreign and locals, for 111 days.

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฉ The central government in Kinshasa had requested outside help and the response was Operation Dragon Rouge which included an American aircraft and Belgian paratroopers. The paratroopers were to open the airstrip blocked by water filled oil drums so that planes could land and airlift out the hostages. Fighting was more intense than anticipated but the mission was accomplished.

๐Ÿ›ฌ The scene at the airport became a staple of local genre painting. Details of the fight vary depending on whether the artist and patrons favor the political stance of the central government or the rebel forces but the general composition and subject remain the same.

๐Ÿ”Ž"Air Drop of Paratroopers on Stanleyville," 1964-1979, Wande F., Democratic Republic of the Congo

๐Ÿ‚ Buffaloes may not be the the kings of the forest, but they are still majestic!๐Ÿ‘‘ The image of the bushcow is associated...
05/28/2023

๐Ÿ‚ Buffaloes may not be the the kings of the forest, but they are still majestic!

๐Ÿ‘‘ The image of the bushcow is associated with Dahomey's King Ghezo (1828-1858). Families claiming descent from the king would use the bushcow image on ancestral altars.

๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿพโ€โ™‚๏ธ This object was supposedly owned by General Alfred-Amรฉdรฉe Dodds, the French general who defeated the armies of the Kingdom of Dahomey under King Bรฉhanzin, and seized the palace in Abomey.

๐Ÿ”Ž Figure of a buffalo, late 19th century,Fon artist, Abomey, Benin

Saturdays are for ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ”Ž Helmet mask, Igbo artist, Nigeria
05/27/2023

Saturdays are for ๐Ÿ˜ด

๐Ÿ”Ž Helmet mask, Igbo artist, Nigeria

We're almost halfway through the year!What art wins are you celebrating?
05/26/2023

We're almost halfway through the year!

What art wins are you celebrating?

Happy Africa Day everyone! Be like  and visit our museum today. You can also visit any other day of the week!๐Ÿ“ธ  Keep sha...
05/25/2023

Happy Africa Day everyone! Be like and visit our museum today. You can also visit any other day of the week!

๐Ÿ“ธ Keep sharing your best pictures of the museum using !
We will repost youโค๏ธ

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โž• A true masterwork of abstract, geometric shapes, this stylized human form once guarded ancestral bones preserved in la...
05/23/2023

โž• A true masterwork of abstract, geometric shapes, this stylized human form once guarded ancestral bones preserved in large baskets.

๐Ÿ‘€ While the transverse crest of the coiffure and the large concave face are striking, the most unique feature is the small face on the back. Perhaps the ritual efficacy of the figure was better with two pairs of eyes. Because metal was a precious material, the metal surface on this figure serves as both an offering of wealth and a tangible metaphor for diverting harm.

๐Ÿ”Ž Reliquary guardian figure, late 19th-early 20th century, Gabon

Three's a crowd?๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ We're loving this Tingatinga painting by Edward Saidi Tingatinga, founder of the school of art.๐ŸŽจ The ...
05/22/2023

Three's a crowd?

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ We're loving this Tingatinga painting by Edward Saidi Tingatinga, founder of the school of art.

๐ŸŽจ The patterns are influenced by the patterns of factory print cloth, and their cursive nature of decorative patterns may be traced to Swahili art and calligraphy.

๐Ÿ”Ž Conger Birds, 1972, Edward Saidi Tingatinga, Tanzania

๐Ÿงธ These dolls were given to young girls as toys. ๐Ÿคฐ๐ŸพAdult women who wished to become pregnant or who wished to assure the...
05/21/2023

๐Ÿงธ These dolls were given to young girls as toys.

๐Ÿคฐ๐ŸพAdult women who wished to become pregnant or who wished to assure the birth of a healthy and beautiful child carried the figure in their wrapper.

๐Ÿ”Ž Female figure, mid-20th century, Fante artist, Ghana

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ This brightly colored, abstract painting illustrates artist Uche Okeke's mastery of modernist forms and techniques th...
05/20/2023

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ This brightly colored, abstract painting illustrates artist Uche Okeke's mastery of modernist forms and techniques that he skillfully adapts to address local themes--in this case, masked spirit dancers that appear at funerals.

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ As a major proponent of Natural Synthesis, an artistic manifesto designed by the Zaria Rebels which he helped found, Okeke turned to his knowledge of Igbo culture to create a viable synthesis of tradition-based and modernist artistic forms.

Where would you hang this gorgeous piece of art?

๐Ÿ”Ž Ana Mmuo (Land of the Dead), 1961, Uche Okeke, Nigeria

๐Ÿ’Ž Pendants, worn on the hips, display a variety of human and animal images. ๐Ÿ‘‘ As shown in the pendant, in Benin art, as ...
05/19/2023

๐Ÿ’Ž Pendants, worn on the hips, display a variety of human and animal images.

๐Ÿ‘‘ As shown in the pendant, in Benin art, as well as in contemporary court ceremonies, an oba is frequently seen flanked and supported by two attendants.

๐Ÿ”Ž Pendant, mid-16th to mid-17th century, Edo artist, Nigeria

 is sitting pretty and we love it! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“ธ  Keep sharing your best pictures of the museum using  !  We will repost youโค๏ธPh...
05/17/2023

is sitting pretty and we love it! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ˜

๐Ÿ“ธ Keep sharing your best pictures of the museum using !
We will repost youโค๏ธ

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๐Ÿ“ธ Say cheese!๐Ÿ”Ž Camera, Nigeria
05/16/2023

๐Ÿ“ธ Say cheese!

๐Ÿ”Ž Camera, Nigeria

05/15/2023

๐ŸŽ™๏ธIn EP 2 of the podcast series, Ayana V Jackson shares how she came to work with the National Museum of African Art and the process that brought the exhibition to life.

Link in bio for full episode โ˜๐Ÿฟ

With




Editor:

๐Ÿ”™ Travel with us to 19th century present day Congo where Bwami sculptures are being used as proverb images illustrating ...
05/15/2023

๐Ÿ”™ Travel with us to 19th century present day Congo where Bwami sculptures are being used as proverb images illustrating the principles of moral perfection.

๐Ÿ™‚ The name and precise meaning of this head is not known, but its features can be interpreted. The smooth, luminous bald head covered with a cap of cowrie shells, for example, represents a high-ranking Bwami elder who has, through successive initiations, achieved supreme wisdom.

๐Ÿšซ Sculptures like this are rare because the Bwami society was outlawed in 1948, owing to the Belgian colonial government's misunderstanding of its beliefs and aspirations. Beginning in 1910, the Belgians also sporadically imposed a ban on elephant ivory, a primary raw material for Lega art. Theft or intentional destruction of hundreds of ivory carvings are a further cause of their rarity.

๐Ÿ”Ž Head, early to mid-20th century, Lega artist, Democratic Republic of the Congo

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพ Meet Eshu (also known as Elegba), the divine messenger and an agent for change. ๐Ÿ›‘ Often referred to as a trickster, E...
05/13/2023

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพ Meet Eshu (also known as Elegba), the divine messenger and an agent for change.

๐Ÿ›‘ Often referred to as a trickster, Eshu is present wherever there is a possibility for change or conflict i.e. the market, crossroads, home doorways. The dance staff carried by his worshippers usually features a male figure with a hook formed by a long hairstyle, a sign of sexuality and spiritual potency.

๐Ÿš The second face on the tail of the coiffure suggests his pervasive power and presence, as well as the contradictions in his character. Along the crest of the hair are depictions of gourd medicine containers. The cowrie shells and indigo dye refer to wealth, often a cause of change and dispute.

๐Ÿ”Ž Staff, late 19th to mid-20th century, Yoruba artist, Nigeria

You picked the perfect reading spot ! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“ธ  Keep sharing your best pictures of the museum using  !  We will repost youโค...
05/12/2023

You picked the perfect reading spot ! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ ๐Ÿ˜

๐Ÿ“ธ Keep sharing your best pictures of the museum using !
We will repost youโค๏ธ

Photo credit:

05/11/2023

A forest is made up of more than one tree. We achieve more with unity.

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ This painting features architectural motifs taken from the facade of the cathedral in Lubumbashi, which was influence...
05/10/2023

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ This painting features architectural motifs taken from the facade of the cathedral in Lubumbashi, which was influenced by the neo-Romanesque St. Andrew's Abbey Church in Brugge, Belgium.

๐ŸŽจ In the late 1920s, a Belgian colonial official provided paper, colored pencils, brushes and watercolors to several local men. Convinced that they were self-taught and expressing spontaneous manifestations of an African sensibility, the works were exhibited in Europe from 1929-1931. However, far from the romanticized, purely African society that the colonial imagined, the works exhibited evidence of the hybridity of the African colonial experience, with such "non-African" items as umbrellas and bicycles, or as seen here, a European-inspired church in Lubumbashi.

โ›ช One of the most prolific artists in this group was Tshyela Ntendu, known to his patrons as Djilatendo. This work, "L'รฉglise," or "Church," demonstrates his playful, colorful style, which charmed foreign collectors and fascinated European artists involved with the movement known as Surrealism. The lack of documentation available for Djilatendo, or other prolific artists of his time, is a reminder of how little has been written about the painters, sculptors, illustrators and photographers who worked in African cities in the first few decades of the twentieth century.

๐Ÿ”Ž L'รฉglise (Church), ca. 1930, Djilatendo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

๐Ÿ‘€ Have you visited our new exhibition, "From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya with Ayana V. Jackson?"๐ŸŒŠ Inspired by the ...
05/09/2023

๐Ÿ‘€ Have you visited our new exhibition, "From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya with Ayana V. Jackson?"

๐ŸŒŠ Inspired by the legend of Drexciya, the exhibition brings to life an immersive, feminist, and sacred aquatopia where African water spirits from Senegal to South Africa both midwife, protect the Drexciyans.

๐Ÿšข Jackson uses her own body to convey her message and actively engages in what it might have meant to be among the estimated two million captives who were thrown overboard or jumped voluntarily into the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade.

๐Ÿ”ŽIt is only when you lose your mother that she becomes a myth, 2020, Ayana V. Jackson

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿฆฑ Hair styling inspiration anyone? Wood masks whitened with kaolin like this one have been observed among among the S...
05/08/2023

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿฆฑ Hair styling inspiration anyone? Wood masks whitened with kaolin like this one have been observed among among the Shira, Lumbo, Vuvi, Sango and Punu peoples in south and south central Gabon and southwestern Republic of the Congo since the late 19th century.

๐Ÿ‘บ It's called the mukudj and has variant names in different geographical locations. The masks appeared in masquerades during funeral celebrations, when masked male dancers on stilts, concealed under fiber costumes, performed acrobatic feats. Contemporary Punu prominently display the masks in their homes as a sign of ethnic identity and wear mukudj masks made specially for performances that celebrate a number of events.

โšช The sculptor carefully gave the mask feminine attributes such as the hairstyle and scarification patterns on the forehead and temples. The white color, however, is genderless: it symbolizes the afterlife and the spirits of the dead.

๐Ÿ”Ž Face mask, late 19th-early 20th century, Punu artist, Congo, Ngouniรฉ or Nyanga Province, Gabon

The Baye Fall are members of the Mouride brotherhood, followers of Sheikh Ibra Tall, the 1st disciple of Sheikh Amadu Ba...
05/05/2023

The Baye Fall are members of the Mouride brotherhood, followers of Sheikh Ibra Tall, the 1st disciple of Sheikh Amadu Bamba.

Distinguished by their patchwork costume, long dreadlocks and club (xiir), they combine the roles of police, directing the crowds at the annual pilgrimage and begging for alms.

๐Ÿ”Ž Le Baye Fall, 1984, Alexis Ngom, Senegal

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