The critically acclaimed exhibition Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria begins its four-venue U.S. tour at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on September 19, 2010. The exhibition was most recently at the British Museum, London, where the work was hailed as "humanely observed and crafted with genius" and as the kind of art "whose greatness pre-exists and survives us." (The Guardian)
The exhibition has been co-organized by the Museum for African Art, New York City, and the Fundación Marcelino Botín, Satander, Spain, in collaboration with the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, September 19, 2010 - January 9, 2011
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, February 12 - May 22, 2011
Indianapolis Museum of Art, July 8 - October 9, 2011
Museum for African Art, New York City, November 11, 2011 - March 4, 2012
Devoted to the art of Ife, the ancient city-state of the Yoruba people of West Africa (in present-day southwestern Nigeria), Dynasty and Divinity features more than 100 extraordinary brass, terra-cotta, and stone sculptures, ranging in date from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries. Many of the works have never before been on display outside Nigeria.
Through a great diversity of objects, the exhibition reveals the remarkably creative range of Ife art. Included are handsome idealized portrait heads, exquisite miniatures, expressive caricatures of old age, lively animals, and sculptures showing the impressive regalia worn by Ife's kings and queens. Together, these illuminate one of the world's greatest art centers and demonstrate not only the technological sophistication of Ife artists, but also their rich aesthetic language.