is often called "the most African of American cities." Its music and cuisine are recognized worldwide as unique contributions to the cultural fabric of the Americas; the most famous of those contributions--jazz, America's quintessential musical idiom--is intrinsically African in origin. It is, therefore, appropriate that the New Orleans Museum of Art was among the first American municipal museums to form an important collection of African art. Unlike most European national museums which began as repositories for the material culture of their colonies, the New Orleans Museum of Art focused on aesthetics. In 1966, the museum opened a permanent gallery for the arts of Africa and a major bequest in 1977 from Victor K. Kiam added over a hundred works to the collection. While covering much of the African continent, the museum's collection is not an encyclopedic presentation of the art of all African peoples; its strongest concentration is in Yoruba, Dogon, and Fang sculptures.

RESONANCE FROM THE PAST consists of a selection of the finest works of African sculpture from the New Orleans Museum of Art. During the last four decades since the collection was formed many scholars have conducted research in Africa to discover the uses and meanings of these works. Included in the exhibition are ancestor figures, symbols of authority, and objects of transformations. Sculpted artworks, including masks, pots, costumes, and musical instruments, represent elements of divination and initiation ceremonies, bestow power on their owners, and serve as altars to mediate between humans and the divine.

RESONANCE FROM THE PAST is a collaboration between the Museum for African Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Frank Herreman is the guest curator.