A major draw of the National Museum of African Art is the Chokwe mask,carved by the Chokwe people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of more than 500 artifacts from across western and central Africa in the Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection.
The Chokwe mask was part of ceremonies that honored female ancestors,while others were used to ward off diseases,to indicate social status or during rites of passage. The masks range from eerily realistic and ornate to abstract and simply decorated.
The National Museum of African Art has three underground levels to explore,so don’t limit yourself to just one part of the collections. Other exhibits encompass contemporary and traditional African paintings,textiles and instruments. The museum’s Artists in Dialogue 2,a collaborative project between two South African and Brazilian artists,yielded seven original sculptures for the exhibition.
Danielle’s pick: The Crest Mask,possibly made by the Efik people of Nigeria,is an amazing mask made of wood,skin and bone. It was hard to look away.
Mike’s pick: The Nokia cell phone coffin is a very moving piece that represents the style of life a person lived. The casket is not only beautiful but also shows the effects of urbanization.
Jorge’s pick: I thought that the craftsmanship of the elephant coffin was really nice,and it was definitely one of the pieces that stood out for me My eye just went to it automatically.
Reach reporter Nadia Tamez-Robledo at [email protected] or 202-326-9865
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