1990 June 8 - 1991 January 6
African Reflections: Art from Northeastern Zaire, curated by Enid Schildkrout and Curtis A. Keim of the Museum's Department of Anthropology, focused on the art history of the region from the time of the first encounters with Europeans, through the colonial period to the present and drew primarily from material collected on the American Museum Congo Expedition (1909-1915). The American Museum Congo Expedition was led by mammalogist and photographer Herbert Lang and ornithologist and painter James P. Chapin. The exhibition traced the origins of the Mangbetu-style of art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and explored the cultural and linguistic groups of the area including the Mangbetu, Azande, Barambo, and Mbuti. The exhibition was supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Ambrose Monell Foundation. After closing at the American Museum of Natural History, the exhibition traveled to the National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Denver Art Museum in Denver, CO, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, and the San Diego Museum of Art in San Diego, CA (1).
Members of the Museum's Department of Exhibition who worked on the exhibition included exhibit designer Clifford La Fontaine and conservator Judith Levinson (8).
Related programming included (1; 2):
*Film screening, Spirit of Defiance: The Mangbeti People of Zaire
*Film screening, Witchcraft Among the Azande, The Magic Tree: A Story from the Congo
*Film screening, Baka: People of the Rainforest
*Family Weekend Theater Program, "Azapane and the Peanuts"
*Lecture, "Myths Out of Africa" with "Images of Central Africa" by John Mack
*Lecture, "African Imagery in Western Myths" by Curtis A. Keim
*Lecture, "Myths and Museums" by Enid Schildkrout
*Lecture, "Life as an Efe Pygmy: Myth-conceptions and Myth representation," by David Wilke
*Dance performance, Professor Yaa-lengi and his African Contempo Band
*Dance performance, Malaki Ma-Kongo: Songs and Dance of the Congo
*Symposium, "Tradition, Innovation, and Interpretation: Issues in the Collection and Display of the Arts of Zaire in Historical Perspective"
Highlights including over 450 artifacts from the American Museum Congo Expedition (1909-1915) (1; 3; 4; 5):
*Photographs by Herbert Lang documenting the expedition
*A 15-minute film of Zaire made in 1989 specially for the exhibition
*A life-sized mannequin of King Mbunza, late nineteenth century Mangbetu ruler
*Mangbetu wooden harp with resonator and pangolin scales
*Barambo wooden slit drum
*Mangbetu ivory and wooden harp with okapi fur
*Azande sanza with woman's figure
*Azande hat with cane loops and white feathers
*Meje charm with duiker (small antelope) horn, vertebrae and porcupine tails
*Mangbetu chief's brass knife
This is a condensed summary of the exhibition. For additional information, see Sources and/or Related Resources.
Content negotiation supports the following types: