African Art: Building the Collection
On View: Lower Level, Wieland Pavilion
In celebration of its newly expanded Fred and Rita Richman Gallery for African Art, the High will showcase nearly 40 recent acquisitions of art from Africa to enter the permanent collection.
African Art: Building the Collection marks a significant expansion of the African art galleries, a more than 60-percent increase in the dedicated space for art from the continent. The expansion is the result of a generous pledge from Fred and Rita Richman (for whom the gallery was named in 2005), longtime patrons of African art at the High.
Featuring works from ancient to contemporary times and from disparate regions throughout the continent and all acquired over the last nine years, the exhibition provides important insights into African cultural heritage from the past to the present day. This extraordinary group of objects represents a diverse range of artistic expressions from African nations including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Africa, and South Sudan.
The High’s presentation juxtaposes works by unidentified artists from the distant past alongside well-known works of art by famous twentieth-century artists such as Osei Bonsu, the Asante carver commissioned by African kings and American presidents. Ancient works include a large stone tool from what is now Niger and centuries-old royal art objects from West African kingdoms, including an ivory rattle from Owo, a city famous for its ivory carvers.