A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Illuminating African art
BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Museum of Art is bringing African art into the light.
by Emily Campbell Dec 16, 2006 found at examiner.com
The exhibit, titled Meditations on African Art: Light, is the first in a three-part series that will examine the use of light, color and pattern in the objects of the BMA’s African art collection.
Dance Mask with Superstructure (D’mba). c. 1938. African, Guinea The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Alan Wurtzburger, Baltimore. BMA
“One gallery is installed in dim light, for pieces that were meant to be seen in evening performances or dim light,” said Karen Milbourne, associate curator for African art and department head for the arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands. “Another features items that were meant to blind you in dazzling sunlight, the third addresses light in a philosophical sense, associated with religion. The final gallery features a new work by an internationally renowned contemporary artist, Theo Eshetu.”
More than 40 objects will be on display for the exhibit, which fills two galleries of the museum and includes at least 12 different countries on the African continent. The exhibit is primarily sculpture but includes some textile, video and photography, as well. One of the displays the museum is excited about is their D’mba, an African dance crest made by the Baga artist of Guinea.
“It will be the first time she’s seen in the round; we are putting her in the center of the gallery,” Milbourne said. “She has been treated by conservation, so her brass sparkles like it first did in Guinea.”
“This is the first time any museum has addressed the visual and conceptual importance of light in African art,” Milbourne said. “It’s quite interesting to see the specific and conscious choices in relationship to light levels.”
“This exhibit foreshadows the direction [the museum] is hoping to go in, with each work singled out for its original beauty,” she continued.
“The Meditations exhibition presents an exciting new way to look at African art with dramatic lighting that evokes the experience intended by the artist,” said Anne Mannix, director of communications at the BMA. “It is also an opportunity to see several works of art on view for the first time.”
“Because it does range from ancient Egypt to contemporary artwork and across media, there is something to appeal to everyone here,” Milbourne said.
related: African art adventures kicking off at BMA Baltimore Museum
December 17, 2006 - April 1, 2007
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