Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting" at Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Toussaint Louverture et la vielle esclave
by Ousmane Sow, 1989
The Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art is displaying its acquisitions from the past decade in a new exhibit with a towering sculpture as its centerpiece. 

The sculpture of Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture was created by Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow in 1989 to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution. Toussaint Louverture led Haiti's freedom struggle against slavery and French colonial rule. It is a life-size, heroic and fairly naturalistic mixed media sculpture that captures the global connections of African art. It was acquired last year at auction in France.

The museum is featuring more than 100 works in "African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting." It opened Friday, November 19th. The exhibit pays tribute to the extraordinary variety of individual works of art that have come into the museum as gifts or purchases. Together, these artworks represent 10 years of building a permanent collection that embodies the diversity and outstanding quality of Africa's arts. 

The collection of the National Museum of African Art has been formed through careful curatorial selections and the generous gifts of many individuals - from specialized art collectors and talented artists to former ambassadors, Peace Corps volunteers and missionaries. 

The exhibit includes examples of modern and contemporary African works of art - paintings, works on paper, sculpture and mixed media works by some of the continent's most recognizable artists.  It features African masks, figures, containers and jewelry, as well as a briefcase created from discarded aluminum used to make soda cans. 

The exhibit will be open through December 2011. The National Museum of African Art is located in Washington, D.C. at 950 Independence Avenue. 

Source: National Museum of African Art website

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