african masksafrican colors
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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African Colors

BMA Meditations on African Art: Colors Punu mask

Maiden Siprit Mask (Mukuyi). Early 20th Century. Punu, Gabon. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Alan Wurtzburger, BMA 1954.145.63

Baltimore Museum of Art 
Meditations on African Art: Color

April 18–August 19, 2007

Free exhibition
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218-3898


Exhibition explores the symbolism of the red, black and white in African art.

The second in a three-part series exploring light, color, and pattern in the BMA’s distinguished collection of African art, Meditations on African Art: Colors is the first exhibition of its kind to explore the symbolism of the African color trinity of red, black, and white. The exhibition showcases 30 rarely seen masks from the BMA’s collection, grouped by color on the gallery walls along with a display of tri-color masks in the center of the gallery, and a site-specific installation by Tunisian-born Swiss artist Fatma Charfi.

This exhibition is curated by Karen Milbourne, BMA Associate Curator of the Arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas & Pacific Islands.
The Meditations series is generously sponsored by Polk Audio, Matthew Polk and Amy Gould.

Lozi stool

Stool. c.1900. Lozi, Zambia. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Art Acquisition Fund, BMA 2005.159

Highlights of the collection include an early 20th-century portrait of a woman by acclaimed Liberian carvers Zlan and Sonzanlwon and several figures by the legendary brasscaster Ldamie. Recent acquisitions include a Lozi throne (c.1900) most likely carved in the court of Lozi King Lewanika of western Zambia, a 20th-century Hausa Koranic prayer board, and Theo Eshetu’s contemporary light-based video work.

Related: Unmasking the meaning behind color in African art

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In this section:
Illuminating African art
african colors
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African art books

The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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