Across Africa, toys are frequently made of wire and other recycled or found materials. Many have moving parts, and all demonstrate an extraordinary imagination. Their linear quality and lively sense of animation have influenced local artists and inspired multiple museum exhibitions. Entertaining toys in the form of sewing machines, bicyclists and figures paddling canoes are proving so popular in some areas that artists now devise easily packable versions for the tourist market.
Push toy bicycle composed of a man and boy on a wheel, with blue bodies and black faces. Squatter's camp.
Acquired in 1984-1987, South Africa
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013-ongoing (deinstalled February 19, 2014)
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013