Exhibitions Archive - Africa
Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa
Caravans of Gold is the first major exhibition addressing the scope of Saharan trade and the shared history of West Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe from the 8th to 16th centuries. Weaving stories about interconnected histories, the exhibition showcases the objects and ideas that connected at the crossroads of the medieval Sahara and celebrates West Africa’s historic and underrecognized global significance. It draws on recent archaeological discoveries, including rare fragments from major medieval African trading centers like Sijilmasa, Gao, and Tadmekka. These “fragments in time” are seen alongside works of art that invite us to imagine them as they once were. They are the starting point for a new understanding of the medieval past and for seeing the present in a new light. Presenting more than 250 artworks spanning five centuries and a vast geographic expanse, the exhibition features unprecedented loans from partner institutions in Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria, many of which will be seen in North America for the first time.
26/01/2019 - 21/07/2019
The Block Museum, Northwestern University, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
21/09/2019 – 23/02/2020
Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, ON M3C 1K1, Canada
16/07/2021 - 27/02/2022
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20560, USA
Des trésors à porter. Bijoux et parures du Maghreb
This exhibition will explore the world of wopmen's ornament through the jewellery of the Maghreb, on display for the first time from the Bouvier collection. This precious-metal jewellery, made from gold, silver and silver-gilt, was produced and distributed in urban or rural areas and covers the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Festive and everyday jewellery alike, it reveals the inventiveness and expertise of the artisans and individuals which created it. Female ornaments from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia are characterized by a rich corpus of head and temporal ornaments, earrings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets and anklets that have a utilitarian function, but are also ornamental and protective . The variety of their forms, their designs and their technical skill reflects the diversity of peoples and the identity of the regions that make up the Arab world today.
11/02/2016 - 8/01/2017
Institut du Monde Arabe, 1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed-V 75005 Paris, France
Alltag - Luxus - Schutz. Schmuck im Alten Ägypten
The Everyday - The Luxurious - The Protective: Jewellery in Ancient Egypt
This small exhibition presents selected pieces of jewellery, pectorals, and amulets, as well as scarabs from various periods in Egyptian history. The display provides an overview of each of the different types of jewellery, explains their production, and notably features excellent examples of silverwork. Spread over several separate cases, the display explains the importance of jewellery in everyday life, as luxury objects, and as protective amulets. Many of the exhibits from Berlin's Ägyptisches Museum collection have never gone on public display before.
27/09/2014 - 25/01/2015
Neues Museum, Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Gold and the Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia
This dazzling exhibition focuses on the Museum’s world-class collection of jewelry from Ancient Nubia (located in what is now Sudan). The Nubian adornments housed at the MFA constitute the most comprehensive collection outside Khartoum. As the conduit between the Mediterranean world and lands south of the Nile Valley, Nubia was known for its exotic luxury goods—especially gold. “Gold and the Gods” focuses on excavated ornaments from an early 20th-century expedition by the Museum with Harvard University, dating from 1700 BC to 300 AD, including both uniquely Nubian and foreign imports, prized for their materials, craftsmanship, symbolism, and rarity.
19/07/2014 – 8/01/2017
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Enchanting: Bedouin Silver
This exhibition is organized in association with a major exhibition on Egyptian Magic and is based on the book Desert Silver. It features silver jewellery from three private collections, including a display of face veils as ornaments.
16/10/2010 - 13/03/2011
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, Netherlands
Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermes Collection
Organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, this exhibition features approximately eighty examples of exquisite North African jewelry and nearly thirty original photographs taken in Morocco, Algeria and Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A full color catalogue with essays by Cynthia Becker and Kristyne Loughran accompanies the exhibition.
8/05/2010 - 8/08/2010
Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI, USA
4/09/2010 - 5/12/2010
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Meet the Tuaregs, a nomadic population living in the Sahara Desert. Discover how craftsmanship, poetry and music, the privileged media for the expression of the Tuareg style, testify to the dynamism of a society today confronted with multiple socio-political, climatic and economic upheavals. The contemporary Tuareg society asserts its identity by playing with its image and the perception that Westerners have of it, particularly through its artisanal and artistic creations. Today, Tuareg culture continues: it knows how to integrate modernity while respecting its identity, its values and its style. Available in jewellery, handicrafts and poetry, Tuareg aesthetics are characterized by sobriety, symmetry and geometric shapes, the use of a limited number of colours and movement.
17/10/2017 - 4/11/2017
Musée des Confluences, 86 quai Perrache, 69002 Lyon, France
Tuareg: People of the Veil
Tuareg: People of the Veil provides a fascinating insight into the culture of the Tuareg people of north west Africa, through the exploration of Tuareg clothing and jewellery. Ornate amulets, veils and slippers are set within their social and historical context to illuminate their significance to Tuareg culture.
27/03/2010 - 27/02/2011
Horniman Museum, London, USA
Portable Treasuries: Silver Jewelry from the Nadler Collection
Collectors Daniel and Serga Nadler have assembled a unique collection of silver jewelry from around the world, including massive neck ornaments, anklets, bracelets, complex earrings, and a wide variety of brooches and fibulae. The exhibition will present approximately 150 works, from North Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and the hill tribes of Southeast Asia. This marks the inaugural exhibition of the Nadler Collection, which was generously donated as a promised gift to the Museum of Arts and Design. The jewelry is beautifully crafted, and sadly is in diminishing supply; over the years, many works have been melted down for their silver.
16/02/2010 - 8/08/2010
Museum of Arts and Design, New York NY, USA
Passages: Photographs of Africa by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
Presented in large format color photographs, photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s images of African ritual practices are vivid, rich, intimate and intense. This dynamic exhibition of images from around the African continent is divided into six themes: Coming of Age, Courtship and Marriage, Beliefs and Worship, Masks and Masquerades, Royalty and Power, and Spirits and Ancestors. The exhibition also includes six documentary videos, plus a selection of jewelry, masks, sculpture, and other African artifacts, drawn from the Bowers Museum’s holdings as well as the photographers’ personal collections, representing the cultures and themes seen in the images.
15/11/2008 - 16/08/2009
Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, CA, USA
Morocco - Photographs by Elias Harrus and Pauline Prior
The key focus of the exhibition will be photographs from the 1940s and 1950s, when a significant Jewish community lived in the Atlas Mountains and Sahara oases. These evocative photographs reflect the deep links in Morocco between the Jewish and Muslim communities, their religious life, crafts and traditions. Also on display will be objects reflecting Jewish life in Morocco, including costumes and jewellery
11/11/2010 - 6/03/2011
Jewish Museum, London, USA
Proudly African: Jewellery Affairs
This exhibition of African jewellery features works by African jewellery artists from various countries, reflecting the extraordinary cultural diversity of the continent as well as the simultaneity of tradition and modernity. The pieces of jewellery on display are part of a collection that Martina Dempf has assembled. The exhibition is complemented by works by European artists inspired by Africa's jewellery culture. Photographs visualise jewellery in African everyday life and at festivals.
11/06/2021 - 6/08/2021
Jakob Bengel Foundation, Wilhelmstraße 42a, 55743 Idar-Oberstein, Germany
Modische Schwergewichte aus Namibia: Traditionelle Kleidung und Schmuck der Hererofrauen
Fashionable heavyweights from Namibia: Traditional clothing and jewellery of the Herero women
In dealing with the German colonial past, public interest is repeatedly directed towards the fate of the Herero and Nama. The background to this is the genocide committed against them by the German colonial power during the German-Namibian War 1904-1908. Between 40,000 and 60,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama died. The colonial government took the survivors' land and their livelihood, the cattle, and made them cheap labour. With the old way of life, the material culture of the Herero also disappeared. The costume had already begun to change with the emergence of Christianity. The original clothing of the women left the breast uncovered and consisted of leather, which was covered with heavy iron beads, as well as decorative jewellery made of countless, elaborately made discs from ostrich eggshells. Due to the influence of the missionaries, this costume was replaced by "chaste" floor-length cotton clothes. On the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the museum association and current ethnological provenance research on the Namibia collection of the RPM , the museum is showing a selection of these Namibian fashion treasures from the late 19th century.
Exhibition extended to 31/01/2021
Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim, Am Steine 1-2, D-31134 Hildesheim, Germany
Good As Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women
In the cities of the West African nation of Senegal, stylish women have often used jewellery as part of an overall strategy of exhibiting their elegance and prestige. Rooted in the Wolof concept of sañse (dressing up, looking and feeling good), Good As Gold examines the production, display, and circulation of gold in Senegal as it celebrates a significant gift from art historian Marian Ashby Johnson of over 250 works of West African jewellery to the National Museum of African Art’s collection. A catalogue featuring Johnson’s collection of Senegalese gold jewellery will be released to coincide with the opening of the exhibition. It will include new photography of key works in the collection and exhibition; trace the history of gold in Senegal, documenting the techniques, materials and practices of goldsmiths; and will reveal the inspirational and economic roles of women in commissioning, trading and fashioning Senegalese jewellery. Johnson has contributed an essay to the catalogue on the history of gold in West Africa, Senegalese goldsmiths and their collaboration with women in the region.
24/10/2018 - 29/09/2019
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20560, USA
9/09/2020 - 3/01/2021
North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), 2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
Schmuck und Skulptur aus Afrika - Die Schenkung Seibt im Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut
Jewelry and Sculpture from Africa - The Seibt donation
In May 2016, the Ethnographic Museum of Herrnhut received a substantial donation from Dr. Uta Seibt and Dr. Friedrich Seibt of Starnberg-Landstetten. The collection entrusted to the Herrnhut Museum includes about 200 objects: masks and sculptures from West and Central Africa, glass-bead figures from South Africa and handicraft products from several regions of Africa. The jewellery, which is primarily made of glass beads and comes from Zulu and other ethnic groups of South Africa and of the East African Turkana and Maasai, is of particular significance. There are also numerous books, slides and about 180 postcards from Africa as part of the collection that reflects the diverse cultural history of various regions of Africa in the recent past. Dr. Uta Seibt worked as a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen (in Starnberg, Bavaria). Between 1970 and 2000 she led annual research trips to various regions of Africa. In addition to her biological and behavioral ecological studies she became increasingly interested in cultural characteristics of the indigenous population. She was particularly interested in the glass bead jewellery of the Zulu and other ethnic groups in southern Africa. She analyzed the colour composition of thousands of such trinkets and the symbolic meaning associated with them. The results of her work have been published in numerous publications. While working, she began to purchase objects of African art together with her husband to create their own personal collection, initially for scientific purposes, but soon out of interest and for pleasure as well.
25/11/2016 - 26/02/2017
Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut (Ethnographical Museum Herrnhut), Goethestraße 1, D - 02747 Herrnhut, Germany
Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of culture, politics and identity
The 6,000-year history of the Afro Comb, its extraordinary impact on cultures worldwide, and community stories relating to hair today are explored in this new exhibition. Material culture on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum includes hundreds of remarkable combs - from pre-dynastic Egypt to modern-day black fist combs referencing the Black Power Movement - as well as associated images and sculpture showing the wide variety of hair styles found in Africa and around the world. A digital interaction gallery features projections of personal stories about combs and African type hair and visitors are encouraged to share their own stories and photographs, which will become part of a new archive of material for future generations. At the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology experience three contemporary art installations that bring to life the ‘Cottage Salon’ in the home, The Barber Shop and The Hairdressing Salon; explaining black hair culture, styling and politics as we know it today.
2/07/2013 – 3/11/2013 (28/09/2013 at Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology)
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB, UK
The Art of Being a Man, Africa, Oceania
The men of Africa and Oceania seldom appear in public unadorned. The jewellery and symbols they wear in everyday life or on the occasion of cult ceremonies constitute a rich palimpsest of layered experiences, not least of the initiation rites that mark the different phases of men's lives. Male jewellery designed for men, but sometimes shared with women, is extremely diverse. The inhabitants of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands have traditionally derived much of their inspiration from their surroundings, drawing on a huge range of raw materials to fashion artefacts of genuine formal richness, ranging from the strictly minimalist to the overwhelmingly profuse. In Africa, the skin, teeth and claws of leopards, lions and elephants, and in Oceania those of pigs, dogs and sperm whales, together with bird plumage, are greatly sought after for making jewellery that connotes prestige, as they symbolize power and vitality, and offer protection to their wearers. This exhibition will include more than one hundred and fifty exhibits, many of them never before seen in public, from private and public collections.
15/10/2009 – 11/07/2010
Musée Dapper, Paris, France
The power of masks and royal symbols - Beadwork jewellery from Cameroon.
For centuries, glass beads and cowries served as common means of payment in Africa. Embodying the owner's wealth, influence and international connections, objects embroidered with beads or precious glass bead jewellery were, however, a luxury reserved for only the high dignitaries. The exhibition displays objects from the Klaus Paysan collection, collected over 45 years.
13/11/09 – 07/02/10
Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Germany
Beautiful Metals of Ghana: Adornments & Wearables
This exhibition, organized by 'Memphis in May' in collaboration with the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, showcases a variety of artworks, both traditional and contemporary, which celebrate the richness of Ghana’s culture and art history.
1/05/2022 – 31/05/2022
The Metal Museum, 374 Metal Museum Drive, Memphis, TN 38106, USA
The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana
Be dazzled by over 250 gleaming gold items of regalia, colourful and intricately woven silk kente cloth, ceremonial furniture, state swords, linguist staffs, and other significant objects related to Asante royals from the 19th through the 21st centuries. Founded around 1701 with wealth derived from the gold trade with North Africa and Europe, the Asante Kingdom was a very powerful polity in West Africa. The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, inspired by works in the DMA’s collection and featuring objects from public and private collections, reveals the splendor of Asante regalia, much of which is made of gold.
15/04/2018 – 12/08/2018
Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood, Dallas, Texas 75201, USA
A display of Asante treasures from Ghana, shedding light on 19th-century collecting and the British Empire. Asante gold court regalia is richly symbolic of an economy centred on the gold trade. Small brass goldweights were shaped to express proverbs encouraging honesty, integrity and the need to leave a legacy of good deeds. This display highlights contested heritage: some items were taken by British troops when they raided the Asante capital, Kumasi, in 1874 in conflicts over gold-trading ports.
18/10/2019 - 31/10/2021
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL, UK
Glass Beads of Ghana
Southern Ghana is home to sub-Saharan Africa's most dynamic and enduring glass bead-making tradition. For over 400 years, Ghanaian bead artists have been producing powder-glass beads from recycled glass to meet local demands of fashion and customary practice. Glass Beads of Ghana, the first exhibition to look closely at this distinctive art form, is drawn largely from The Newark Museum's own extensive collection, one of the few such collections in the world.
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ, USA
Dichotomies in Objects: Contemporary South African Studio Jewelry from the Stellenbosch Area
The Metal Museum and The Society of North American Goldsmiths, in partnership with American curator Lauren Kalman and South African curator Carine Terreblanche, present Dichotomies in Objects, Contemporary South African Studio Jewelry from the Stellenbosch Area. The exhibition will feature approximately 150 pieces of work by eighteen South African artists. The curators have chosen to showcase provocative, experimental and formally engaging works. All of the artists selected are affiliated with Stellenbosch University, the only university in South Africa teaching conceptual approaches to jewelry making.
12/09/2009 – 31/10/2010
The Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, Ohio, USA
1/07/2010 – 31/07/2010
Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco CA, USA
21/01/2011 - 3/04/2011
National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, USA