SPIRITS OF AFRICA – WEST AFRICAN RITUAL ART
MAA’s visiting exhibition
The Museum of Macedonia, Skopje
October 17th - December 17th 2018
Aleksandra Prodanović Bojović (MAA)
Emilia Epštajn (MAA)
Goce Naumov (Museum of Macedonia)
Photo: Marija Miloš
About the Exhibition
A visiting exhibition of the Museum of African Art called „Spirits of Africa –West African Ritual Art“ was opened in Skopje at the Museum of Macedonia. The exhibit was opened by H.E. Dušanka Divjak Tomić, the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Macedonia, Vladimir Lazoski, deputy minister of culture of the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the director of Skopje Jazz Festival, Oliver Belopeta.
This exhibition is the first presentation made by the Museum of African Art for the Macedonian public. It showcases a small portion of the vast spiritual and artistic heritage of Africa, based on the materials from the Museum’s collection. Sculptures, masks and textiles were selected so as to highlight the artistic expressivity of African folk sculpture, which gained international acclaim comparable to that of the most outstanding art achivements world-wide. The objects chosen for display are linked to religious practices and spiritual beliefs, because they convey the abundance of the Africans’ spiritual reality.
Precisely these examples of folk creativity express the inspiration of the artists and the depth of their core beliefs most adequately. The ritual art of West Africa forms the thematic basis of the exhibition, because 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 exhibit showcases circa seventy ritual objects – masks, sculptures, textiles, a hunter’s attire, as well as amulets made of wood and bone, all originating among West African peoples of the Baga, Ashanti, Dogon, Bamana, Yoruba, Senufo, Baule, Dan, Bobo, Mossi. The exhibited items are from the mid-twentieth and the second half of the twentieth century, mostly belonging to the Veda and Dr Zdravko Pečar gift-collection. The collecting activity and African odyssey of these two benefactors and initiators of the Museum of African Art is presented in a documentary segment of the exhibition, which consists of material from the Pečar photo-archive.
The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Museum of Macedonia and Skopje Jazz Festival. This international cultural cooperation project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, the Secretariat for Culture of the City Assembly of Belgrade, and the Macedonian Ministry of Culture.
Photo: Filip Kondovski