National Museum of African Art reopens | Arts and entertainment


WASHINGTON, DC – The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art reopened on Friday, July 16. This is the first opportunity for visitors to see the museum’s latest exhibition, “Golden caravans, fragments in time: art, culture and exchanges across medieval Saharan Africa. “Originally scheduled for April 2020, the exhibition has been extended until February 27, 2022.

“The exhibition is a historic opportunity to reconsider our understanding of world history,” said Kevin D. Dumouchelle, curator at the National Museum of African Art. “In this exhibition, African artists, innovators, intellectuals and traders reclaim their central place in our understanding of a period that laid the foundations of the world’s first modern world. The history of Africa is truly a world history.

“Caravans of Gold” is the first major exhibition to explore the world medieval Saharan Africa and the central role played by traders, artists and intellectuals in establishing links between West Africa (including Morocco, Mali and Nigeria today) and places so far from the Sahara. like Italy, Iran, China and the UK The exhibition features over 300 works from the 8th to 15th centuries AD demonstrating the global reach of African peoples, ideas and materials from this period.

Developed in close collaboration with partner lending institutions in Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, “Caravans of Gold” only presents archaeological works from public collections in Africa, the United States or Europe that have been legally exported from their country. native country. It also features world-renowned masterpieces from the collections of the National Museums of Nigeria, Mali and Morocco, first shown to visitors in Washington, DC.

“‘Caravans of Gold’ is the starting point for a new understanding of the medieval past and for seeing the present in a new light,” said Kathleen Bickford Berzock, exhibition curator and associate director for conservation affairs at the Block Museum of Northwestern University. Art. “The legacy of medieval trans-Saharan exchanges has been largely omitted from Western historical narratives and art histories, and certainly from the way Africa is presented in art museums. This exposure goes a long way in solving this problem. “Caravans of Gold” highlights Africa’s central role in world history through the tangible materials that remain. “

The exhibition is on view until February 27, 2022, thanks to its lending institutions and the collaborative efforts of the Block Museum of Art, the museum behind the exhibition. Visitors can also view the exhibit online.

The safety of visitors and staff is the museum’s top priority. The museum has implemented several new safeguards based on recommendations from public health officials.

Initially, the museum will be open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the safety of visitors and staff, groups of more than 12 people are strictly prohibited. All visitors who are not feeling well should stay at home, including those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Face covers are mandatory for visitors aged 2 and over who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time”, edited by Berzock and co-published by the Block Museum of Art and Princeton University Press.

Recipient of several recent awards, including those from the Association of Curators of Art Museums and the Arts Council of the Association for African Studies, the publication draws on interdisciplinary findings and research to build a compelling look at the networks and stories that center the Sahara in medieval history. . In the richly illustrated volume, 21 international contributors present case studies that form a rich portrait of a distant era. Topics include descriptions of the main medieval towns around the Sahara; networks of exchange that have contributed to the circulation of gold, copper and ivory and their associated art forms; and the medieval production of glass beads in the forest region of West Africa.

The National Museum of African Art is the only museum in the world devoted solely to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of African arts through time and media. The museum’s collection of over 12,000 works of art spans over 1,000 years of African history and includes a variety of media from across the continent – from sculpture and painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, textiles, video and sound art. The museum is located at 950 Independence Ave. SW, near Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. For more information, call 202-633-4600 or visit the National Museum of African Art website. For general information about the Smithsonian, call 202-633-1000. Follow the museum on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and join the discussion about the exhibition on social media using #CaravansOfGold or #CaravansNMAfA.

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