Daniel Yohannes Family African Gallery, Level 4, Hamilton Building
Please Note: This gallery is currently closed. A selection of objects from the collection are available to view online. The space is being used for the temporary exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism.
The African collection consists of approximately 1,000 objects—older works and new ones by contemporary artists. Focused on the diverse artistic traditions of Africa, it includes rare and exquisite works in sculpture, textiles, jewelry, painting, printmaking and drawings. Although the strength of the collection is west African art, with emphasis on Yoruba works, there are important masterpieces from all regions and mediums of expression including wood, metals, fibers, terra cotta, and mixed media compositions.
This collection tells the stories of Africa from many perspectives. Artworks in the gallery are selected to represent the diversity of creativity in a continent containing thousands of art-producing societies. The gallery tells the stories of individual artists including Olowe Ise and Fernando Alvim, who are the visual chroniclers of their times.
The display also balances works by women artists—including the Akire shrine painters—with those made by men. Through the works of women artists, the gallery explores questions of gender, rituals, and the importance of group creativity in African art. Older works in the collection are juxtaposed with new works by contemporary African artists to highlight cultural continuities, international influences, and variety of themes. Interactive programs demonstrate the link among visual, musical and performance arts in Africa.
Join us as we crisscross the globe for a new season of Create-n-Takes and make art in the galleries—no passport required.
Overview of exhibition on view in 2012. More
For a traveling exhibition, the preparator's job starts the moment a truck delivering art parks at our dock. More
El Anatsui, world-renowned contemporary artist, discusses his artistic process. More
How we use scale models to help plan museum exhibitions. More
African Renaissance: Old Forms, New Images in Yoruba Art. Moyo Okediji. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2002.
The African collection is part of the native arts department, which also includes the arts of the indigenous peoples of North America, Africa, and Oceania. In the American Indian, Oceanic art, and African art collections, important modern and contemporary artists are represented; reflecting the continued but evolving artistic practice of indigenous artists and cultures.
- Nancy Blomberg, Chief Curator and Curator of Native Arts
- John Lukavic, Associate Curator of Native Arts
- Eric Berkemeyer, Curatorial Assistant of Native Arts
- Heather Nielsen, Associate Director of Learning and Engagement
- Edgar C. McMechan, Curator
- Frederic H. Douglas, Curator
- Kate Peck Kent, Assistant Curator
- Royal B. Hassrick, Curator
- Norman Feder, Curator
- Richard Conn, Curator
- David Irving, Assistant Curator
- Ryntha Johnson, Assistant Curator
- Moyo Okediji , Assistant Curator
- Roger Echo-Hawk, Assistant Curator
- Polly Nordstrand, Associate Curator