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

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Horniman Museum UK

Celebrating Africa 05's rich and diverse cultural heritage at Horniman UK

Horniman Museum, 
100 London Road
Forest Hill
London SE23 3PQ

020 8699 1872   
Temporary exhibitions


Horniman Museum AFRICAN WORLDS GALLERY15/2/2005 .The gallery was opened in 1999 as the first permanent exhibition dedicated to African cultures and identities. It contains a rich collection of world-class artefacts that were acquired by the Horniman museum in the past 100 years.

The exhibition allows your guests to enjoy Egyptian items on display which  Frederick Horniman acquired following his inspiration by, Howard Carter, the Victorian discoverer of Tutankhamen's tomb. The gallery also showcases Nkanu masks from Congo, one of the finest examples of very rare artefacts once used by secret societies and the Benin plaques, considered some of the best examples of the artistic marvels from Benin. The Nigerian Igbo ijele - the largest mask in Africa and only one of its kind in Britain -  adds to the array of visual splendour in the gallery.

afo maternity Horniman museum Maternity figure
Afo peoples, Nigeria, 19th century
H. 27 3/4 in. (70.5 cm)
Horniman Museum, London- 31.42 

The African collections, an estimated 22,000 objects, represent 28% of the total ethnography collection. The geographical range of the collection is wide, covering the whole of the continent, with virtually every modern African state represented, stretching from the northern deserts to the Cape of Good Hope and from the Guinea Coast to the Horn of Africa. The variety of material is considerable and encompasses aspects of many different lifestyles, from hunter-gathering and farming to town and city life.

From the 1950's, development of the collection focused on representing the material culture of specific African peoples. Significant museum holdings include systematic collections from the Sua of Zaire, the Hadza of Tanzania, the San of Botswana, the Tuareg of Algeria, the Samburu of Kenya and the people of the Cross-River area of Nigeria. All collections were the product of in-depth field research with more recent collections including video footage and photographic documentation.

The collections contain objects of outstanding quality including important historical and archaeological material from Egypt, Benin and Ethiopia, collected early in the Museum's history. Other exceptional pieces include two Afo figures donated by Ruxton in 1931; an Ibibio figure with suspended sword, groups of African masks from Yoruba and the Dogon of Mali and collections of contemporary pottery. Noteworthy pieces of contemporary African art include life-size cement sculptures by Sunday Jack Akpan, paintings by Osi Audu and metal sculpture by Sokari Douglas Camp.

In the last six years collecting has concentrated on the development of collections to illustrate contemporary masquerade from countries that are not well represented in other national and local museums. These collections include material from the Dogon of Mali; the Bundouku region of Cote d' Ivoire and an Ijele from Nigeria. Fieldworkers are encouraged to commission new works by acknowledged makers rather than remove existing works from circulation. 

Temporary exhibitions:

The Throne of Weapons

Horniman Gallery Square from Wednesday 9 to Monday 28 February2005.

The Horniman Museum, in Forest Hill, is opening its Africa 05 season in partnership with the British Museum and Christian Aid with a dramatic sculpture fashioned out of AK47s collected under amnesty since the end of the armed conflict in Mozambique in 1992.

Created by Mozambican artist Kester, the Throne of Weapons is a powerful example of how firearms can be transformed into pieces of public art as symbols of hope, and will be on view to the public in the Horniman Gallery Square from Wednesday 9 to Monday 28 February.

The throne was made as part of the Transforming Arms into Tools (TAE) project where weapons of war are changed into thought provoking symbols of peace as a vivid reminder of the aftermath of 16 years of civil war.

The Kliptown Snappers

Horniman Balcony Gallery from Friday 18 March to Monday 31 October 2005

A striking photographic exhibition exploring events and developments in the South African township of Kliptown, Soweto.

On display for the first time in Britain, the Kliptown Snappers comprises of 40 compelling images documenting everyday life in the township through the eyes of a social reportage consortium mentored by internationally renowned photographer Jurgen Schadeberg. The engaging exhibition provides a fascinating window into one of the oldest multi-racial urban settlements in Johannesburg - currently undergoing immense social and economic change.

Founded in April 1903, Kliptown is now a National Heritage Site where preservation orders have been placed on historic houses including the late great South African painter, Gerard Sekoto, Lolland House where Nelson Mandela hid from the security forces, and the house of the first black female doctor, Charlotte Maxeke.

Kliptown was also the site where the historic Freedom Charter was signed on June 26, 1955, demonstrating that South African citizens would never accept the Apartheid system in the fight for liberation, human rights and equality.

The photo essay of colour and black and white images features the work of David Blom, Thomas Chauke, Makgotso Gulube and Thobile Mvobo who have captured the hardships faced by Kliptonians with dignity, resilience, vitality and humour.

West African Textiles and Costumes

The Hornimanís Textile Gallery from Friday 18 March 2005 to Sunday 1 January, 2006

To complement the Kliptown Snappers is a showcase of eye-catching West African Textiles curated from the Hornimanís extensive textile collection. The exhibition features Adire dyed textiles from the Yoruba people in Nigeria and also includes costumes from around the region.

The museumís Kenyan-born Head of Anthropology, Hassan Arero, said: `The African Textiles exhibition aims to illustrate how trade and the sharing of ideas have enabled motifs and patterns as symbols of cultural identity to transcend international borders.í

A stunning photographic exhibition also accompanies the showcase, highlighting early and recent traditional African costumes worn by people in Nigeria, the surrounding regions and also, significantly, in London today.

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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read also : Start ] British-market-primitive-art ] London african art ] African-Dazzle ] [ Horniman-UK ] British-Museum ] Cambrige-Museum ] Collecting-London ] Liverpool-Museum ] Manchester-Museum ] Sainsbury centre of visual arts ] Oxford-Pitt-Rivers ] Exeter-Museum-Devon ] Royal-Museum-Edinburgh ] Birmingham museum ] hunterian ]

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