african masksHarn Museum
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Harn Museum hosts variety of African artHighlights From The African Collection

Yoruba people, Nigeria, Owo,
Royal Ritual Axe, early-mid 20th century,
wood, iron pigment,
gift of Rod McGalliard
Highlights from the African Collection

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
S.W. 34th Street and Hull Road
Florida 32611-2700 

The Harn Museum is located on the University of Florida campus at the UF Cultural Plaza.

By ASHLEY HOFFMAN found at Thursday, March 22, 2007

When curator Susan Cooksey assembled the Highlights from the African Collection at the Harn Museum, she endeavored transcending the common tribal-mask misconception.

The result: a powerful and vastly distinct collection that consists of textiles, basket-weaving, beading and sculptures from West, Central, South and East Africa.

"I wanted the exhibition to show people new things that they hadn't seen," Cooksey said. "I wanted the exhibition to highlight very interesting things that were aesthetically engaging."

The Harn touts one of the largest African art collections in the Southeast, and in this exhibit, Cooksey has attempted to bring African art to life. She hopes to add music and dance to further the interactive experience of the exhibition.

In addition to masks and other examples of African art, the collection includes a painted triptych, a piece rare to many African galleries.

The icon portrays canonical images of saints and the holy family in the manner of European-Byzantine style. For three centuries during the First Gander Period (1650 to 1700 CE), Ethiopian art surprisingly reflected the depiction of the Virgin Mary made popular in Rome.

Cooksey explores African healing methods with her installment of sub-Saharan African objects entitled "African Arts of Healing and Divination," which opened Tuesday. The exhibition communicates the idea of holistic wellness through diagnosis and therapies in African customs.

Harn volunteer Mona Young said that she thinks the exhibition does a great job of representing the cultures of Africa.

"I like the diversity of cultures and objects from the Highlights collection," Young said. "I feel like it's a good introductory exhibit for someone who doesn't know a lot about African art, but it's also a good selection for those who do."

African Arts of Healing & Divination
African, Somalia
Koranic Amulet (xirsi), 18th century
silver, agate, amber, ivory
Gift of Katheryne Loughran and John Loughran, President, Foundation for Cross Cultural Understanding

African Arts of Healing and Divination
February 20, 2007 - June 24, 2007

This exhibition will include objects from Sub-Saharan Africa drawn from the Harn and private collections. It will explore the multi-sensory qualities of objects and performances in the contexts of healing and divination. The traditional concept of health in Africa is holistic, encompassing body, mind and spirit. In the past and today, many types of specialists may be enlisted to help overcome an affliction, including diviners and healers. The exhibition will look at individual curing techniques and materials that change with the cultural, religious, political and ecological landscapes. This exhibition will reflect the viability of ancient systems of healing in Africa today, and the integration of traditional practices with biomedicine.

Ethiopian Highlands Ethiopian
The Battle of King Takla Haymanot of Gojjam against the Dervishes (detail)
c. 1896-1910
Paint on Cloth
textile only: 50 1/2 in. x 24 ft. 11 in. (128.3 x 759.5 cm.)
Museum purchase, gift of Michael A. Singer

Art of the Ethiopian Highlands from the Harn Museum Collection
January 23, 2007 - May 06, 2007

This Rotunda Gallery installation showcases for the first time the museumís notable collection of mural paintings, icons, illustrated manuscripts, bronze processional crosses and carved wooden hand crosses created for use in Christian churches of the Ethiopian highlands. A particular highlight of the exhibition is a rare 25-foot long mural painting portraying the war of King Takla Haymanot with the Dervishes, painted in the late 19th or early 20th century. Historical figures are identified by inscriptions. Clothing, royal regalia, armor, weaponry and horse trappings are rendered in great detail, providing insight into customs of an earlier period. Art of the Ethiopian Highlands provides a historical context for the adjacent exhibition Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists, which focuses on modern and contemporary Ethiopian art. In addition, other Ethiopian icons, crosses and healing scrolls from the collection are featured in Highlights from the Harn Museum African Collection and the African Arts of Healing and Divination exhibition. Made possible by the Frederick and Aase B. Thompson Foundation.

Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists
January 23, 2007 - April 29, 2007

Highlights from the African Collection
September 5, 2006 - ongoing
The exhibition will showcase the best of the Harn's African collection, one of the largest African art collections in the southeast, emphasizing the historical and geographical diversity of the collection as well as a range of mediums now well-represented in the collection. It will include wood sculpture, masquerades, ceramics, textiles, metalwork (including jewelry), and architectural elements. The exhibition will draw attention to some recent acquisitions not previously exhibited at the Harn. The exhibition will also focus on works by identified artists or hands, including works by Osei Bonsu, Ubah of Usufoia, Olowe of Ise and Agbonbiofe Adesina. Made possible by SunTrust Bank.



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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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