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Current Exhibitions

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Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria

September 17, 2014 – September 13, 2015

Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria opened Sept. 17. This major exhibition showcases the photographs of Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge (1911–1994), one of Nigeria’s premiere photographers and the first official photographer to the royal court of Benin. Alonge’s historic photographs document the rituals, pageantry, and regalia of the court for more than half a century and provide rare insight into the early history and practice of studio photography in West Africa.

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Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon

November 21, 2013 – November 16, 2014

Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon showcases the African photography of celebrated Life magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon and explores the intricate relationships between his photographic archives and art collection at the National Museum of African Art. It was Elisofon’s images-perhaps more than any other American photographer’s-that framed America’s perceptions of Africa and its diverse arts and cultures during the 20th century.

African Mosaic

African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Ongoing

A towering and visually striking sculpture of Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture by contemporary Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow is the centerpiece of an exhibition of important acquisitions of the past decade at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection showcases museum purchases and gifts and provides a glimpse into the collecting opportunities and decisions that exist for art museums.

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Walt Disney–Tishman African Art Collection Highlights

Ongoing

Donated to the museum in 2005, the Walt Disney–Tishman Collection is known for its unique and rare works of traditional African art from throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The collection has been instrumental in defining the field of African art history in the United States and abroad.