Congo River: Arts of Central Africa is now on display at the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore. Known as the 'river that swallows all rivers," the Congo today links the nations of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. Drawing from the Musee du quai Branly and other European collections of African art, Congo River: Arts of Central Africa is the first exhibit of its kind to be held in Southeast Asia.
Central Africa is home to various Bantu-speaking peoples with a shared past. The artistic heritage of this region has often been studied as the art of disparate groups of unrelated cultures. These cultures are nevertheless linked by themes that stretch across a region that is 5,000 times the size of Singapore. Themes include heart-shaped masks, reliquary figures for ancestor veneration and female representations.
The exhibition links diverse cultures as well three modern nations, whose rich artistic traditions are explored. The show features beautifully crafted sculptures, masks and ancestor figures, and highlights their importance in ceremonies, rituals, and dances. The visual power of these objects have long impressed collectors and artists, and the exhibition also displays works by Pablo Picasso, who in the early 20th century was strongly influence by African art as he developed his modernist style.
A full range of programs for families, adults and students will be held in conjunction with the exhibition.
Source: Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore