Seventeen rarely seen or newly acquired works have been installed in the African arts galleries. These 19th- to 21st-century works from northern, central, western, and southern Africa support continuing efforts to broaden the scope of African arts on view at the CMA.
Marking the first inclusion of a northern African artist in the CMA’s African arts gallery, digitally carved alabaster tablets by contemporary Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi make their debut. Carved by acclaimed Yorùbá sculptor Duga of Mẹkọ (c. 1880–1960), twinned Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ society masks with innovative moving parts are on view, while a Yorùbá-style vessel of a goose is displayed with new insights into its painted plumage.
Several works acquired during the CMA’s first 25 years show the long institutional history of African arts. These include a central African elite’s luxurious wooden sandals and a Zimbabwean ceremonial axe with ties to both the historical Great Zimbabwe and modern independence movements. Among these early acquisitions are pieces made by the royal Asante goldsmiths’ guild; these visitor favorites are reinstalled with new texts regarding their spiritual meaning and artists’ techniques.