September 10 – November 20, 2011
This exhibition from the John F. Korachis Collection of African Art explores the diversity of African art. Encouraging the viewer to connect personally with each object, many of the artworks are accompanied by reflective texts by Oakland University faculty members, urging each of us to consider how we contextualize art from different cultures. Chiefly from the 19th and 20th centuries, these objects were made by artists to be used in religious ceremonies. Some were placed in communal gathering places, many were worn by dancers, and others were a permanent presence in domestic environments.
An intrinsic part of the everyday life of the people that made and used them, each object’s appearance was fashioned to communicate precisely its personification and purpose – that of interceding and seeking a solution to a particular predicament, for example, to achieve fertility, to prevent drought, to ensure a good harvest, or to bar a malevolent presence. The power of these works of art lies in their metaphysical capacity to communicate with ancestors in the afterlife. In the context of this exhibition, their extraordinary visual presence reminds us that they are a vital part of both the kaleidoscope of global visual culture and the living culture that made them.
Curated by: Andrea Eis. Full-color catalogue available.