SPIRITS OF AFRICA
West African Ritual Art
March 1st - April 15th 2019
Aleksandra Prodanović Bojović, anthropologist
About the exhibition:
After premiering at the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje (October-December 2018) the exhibit featuring traditional ritual art from the Museum of African Art collections is opened in MAA’s home gallery space. The ritual art from West Africa forms the thematic basis of the exhibition. West Africa is a specific cultural and historical area in which numerous art traditions flourished – as exemplified by notable art pieces in the MAA collections. The creativity of African communities is most visible in art works made in a ritual context, which reflect the richness of the spiritual world and the strength of people’s beliefs. African folk sculpture gained worldwide recognition during the 20th century thanks to its expressiveness and creative achievements, which secured its status as ‟classical” African art.
The objects chosen for display are linked to religious practices and spiritual beliefs. Various spirits, ranging from ancestor figures to celestial spouses, agricultural mythical heroes or tutelary spirits are depicted on masks, sculptures, wooden figurines, amulets, textiles and a hunter attire. The exhibit showcases circa fifty ritual objects originating among West African peoples: the Baga, Ashanti, Dogon, Bamana, Yoruba, Senufo, Baule, Dan, Bobo, Mossi. The exhibited items date from the mid-twentieth and the second half of the twentieth century, mostly belonging to the gift-collection of Veda and Dr Zdravko Pečar, who were the benefactors and founders of the Museum of African Art. The exhibit is enriched with photographs, film and audio material, which illustrate the meanings and ritual contexts in which the objects were used.
The Exhibition was opened by Professor Senka Kovač, PhD, from the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, the Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade