National Museum of African Art Home Become a Member
Art and Programs Research About the Museum Playtime! Collections Support Us Calendar Radio Africa

In the Presence of Spirits: African Art from the National Museum of Ethnology, Lisbon
June 10–September 16, 2001


The National Museum of Ethnology in Lisbon houses a major collection of African art primarily from Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. From exquisitely created dolls and stools to awe-inspiring masks and power figures, the objects in this exhibition represent traditions that may predate the arrival of the Portuguese in Africa. This is the first time these objects have toured the United States.

In the Presence of Spirits was organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, in cooperation with the National Museum of Ethnology, Portuguese Institute of Museums, Ministry of Culture, Lisbon, Portugal. The exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of BP in Angola.


Beautiful Bodies: Form and Decoration of African Pottery
May 6, 2001–January 6, 2002


Beautiful forms, rich surface textures and sumptuous colors characterize these handbuilt clay vessels from continental Africa. These 19th- and 20th-century vessels that evoke both human and geometric forms were used for domestic and ritual purposes.


Identity of the Sacred: Two Nigerian Shrine Figures
September 24, 2000–April 2, 2001


People worldwide wear symbols that help identify their relationships to others in a group, in society and to the world at large. The Igbo and Urhobo peoples of Nigeria carve wooden figures that represent tutelary deities and ancestors. The adornments, scarification, color, surface treatment and gestures on these figures are hallmarks of their identities.


Audible Artworks: Selected African Musical Instruments
June 25, 2000–April 8, 2001


Music is an integral element of African life. This selection of musical instruments demonstrates the formal inventiveness of African artists who create objects that are a delight for the eyes as well as the ears. A listening station provides sample recordings of music made by instruments similar to those on display.


The Artistry of African Currency
March 12–July 23, 2000


This exhibition contains a variety of objects that have been used across Africa to facilitate trade and measure wealth. Although cowrie shells, aggrey beads, ivory and cloth have served historically as currency, metals have also been used from the earliest times. The Artistry of African Currency features copper and iron implements, wands, bracelets and anklets—objects valued as much for their elaborate forms as for their intrinsic value.


Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African American Identity
September 12, 1999–January 2, 2000


Asante strip-woven cloth, or kente, is the most popular and best known of all African textiles. The exhibition focuses on the history and use of kente in Africa and explore's contemporary kente and its manifestations. This exhibition is a collaboration between the National Museum of African Art and the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture.

The exhibition was organized by the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, and the Newark Museum, Newark, N.J.


Back to top

Art and Programs / Radio Africa / Research / About the Museum / Support Us / Playtime! / Explore the Collections / Calendar / Home