Saturday, February 8
African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting
African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting presents a wide-ranging selection of African art from the notable collection amassed by Ambassador Allen Davis. His long career with the U.S. State Department afforded him the opportunity to build an outstanding collection representing many of the key cultures of East, Central, and West Africa. The exhibition features eighty-seven objects by twentieth-century African artists from a variety of cultures across the continent, including the Dan people of Liberia, the Mossi and Lobi peoples of Burkina Faso, the Dogon and Bamana peoples of Mali, the Akan peoples of Ghana, and the Kuba peoples of Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others. The works include carved and decorated wooden sculptures, natural fiber and beaded textiles, metalwork, and ceramic pots that represent household, community, and ritual practices.
African Brilliance will feature works from the Palmer’s permanent collection as well as loans from Allen and Barbara Davis, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of African Art, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. An online catalogue will feature interviews with Davis and local residents who have had firsthand experience with the types of objects on view, as well as essays by scholars William Dewey, Janet Purdy, and Mary Jo Arnoldi, curator emerita of African ethnology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art.