New African Art Includes Nigerian Shrine Sculptures; Galleries Redesigned to Highlight Objects at the Carlos Museum

New African art at the Carlos Museum offers valuable insight into the diversity of African artistic expressions through their forms, functions, and cultures of origin.

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Large Nigerian wooden sculptures

The Nigerian Sculptures

We look forward to sharing interpretations on art’s role as objects of devotion, spiritual authority, social status, and aesthetic expression with our visiting patrons, students, and scholars.

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) May 01, 2013

The Carlos Museum is pleased to announce new objects on display in the Art of Africa galleries along with newly redesigned installations to improve access and visibility. Representing art from the great diversity of African nations and cultures, the Museum’s collection includes works from among other countries, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, and Benin, representing important cultural worldviews and aesthetic values.

Notable among the new additions are two large wooden sculptures from Nigeria made early on in the twentieth century. These sculptures were created for an "Erinle" shrine in the Yoruba town of Ilobu and were likely carved by an artist acting on the instruction of a diviner’s reading--this pair of male and female figures function as a visual metaphor for the reciprocal bond between gods and followers created through art.

Also, notable among the new additions in the African gallery is a diminutive ivory and metal leopard of the kind worn by kings and nobles within the historical court of Benin, Nigeria, and a number of bead-decorated leather aprons from South Africa, donned by Ndebele maidens during initiation rites. After extensive conservation treatment, a late nineteenth-century indigo and cowrie shell-decorated Egungun masquerade costume honoring Yoruba ancestors is on display for the first time. Jessica Stephenson, Carlos Museum Curator of African Art, says, “We are delighted to offer new perspectives on the place of traditional African art in ceremonial life. We look forward to sharing interpretations on art’s role as objects of devotion, spiritual authority, social status, and aesthetic expression with our visiting patrons, students, and scholars.”

The Carlos Museum's collection of African art offers valuable insight into the diversity of African artistic expressions in their forms, functions, and cultures of origin. Made from a variety of indigenous and imported materials, the objects in this collection were used in a multitude of contexts, both religious and secular.

The Carlos Museum thanks Chris M. Carlos, Joanne and Charles Ackerman, William Roth and Norma Canelas Roth, Stan Cohen, and Edna Bay for their support of and gifts to Emory’s African collection.

Images along with captions are available upon request.

Brief video introduction to the African galleries and the Nigerian sculptures: View

Descriptive narrative by Jessica Stephenson on the Asen: View

About the Michael C. Carlos Museum
The Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets art and artifacts from antiquity to the present in order to provide unique opportunities for education and enrichment in the community, and to promote interdisciplinary teaching and research at Emory University. The Carlos Museum is one of the Southeast's premier museums with collections of art from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Near East, Nubia, the Americas, Africa, and Asia, as well as a collection of works on paper from the Renaissance to the present.


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    Michael C. Carlos Museum
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