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Current Exhibitions


Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone

April 9 – August 17, 2014

Visions from the Forests surveys the little-known arts of Liberia and Sierra Leone. William Siegmann (1943-2011), former curator of African art at the Brooklyn Museum, lived and worked in Liberia from 1965 to 1987. While there he began collecting art from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Siegmann’s collection, particularly rich in masks, provides an excellent overview the region’s traditional art forms, including numerous objects used in girls’ initiation ceremonies, divination figures, ritual objects and body ornaments cast in brass, small steatite figures dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, and textiles.

Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone is organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon

November 21, 2013 – August 24, 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.


Lines, Marks, and Drawings. Through the Lens of Roger Ballen

June 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014

Roger Ballen (b. 1950) has been shooting black-and-white film for nearly a half-century. A New York native, he has lived in South Africa for more than thirty years. Ballen’s photographs of rural Afrikaners in their homes and urban-based “outsiders” in windowless rooms quickly became distinguished for their interior arrangements and the events that transpired among the people, animals, and furnishings within.


African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting


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: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting showcases museum purchases and gifts and provides a glimpse into the collecting opportunities and decisions that exist for art museums.


Walt Disney–Tishman African Art Collection Highlights


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.