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African Art in the Crist Gallery

African Art in the Crist Gallery

Fall 2009 - TBD

Mint Museum of Art

Sande Society Mask (Bundu) 20th Century

Sierre Leone. Mende Peoples

Wood, raffia

Gift of Phillip M. Abrams. 1975.25.1


Powerful, raw, exciting, and dynamic, African art is inherently rich in cultural and spiritual significance. The human form is favored, as are themes of nature, birth, death, power and prestige. Twentieth century Avant –Garde artists, such as Modigliani, Matisse, and most famously, Picasso were heavily influenced and inspired by African art.

The works on display in the Crosland Gallery range from the 11th to the 20th centuries and utilize such materials as leather, cowrie shell, wood, beads, and cloth. A collection of Kuba cloths on display are on loan from local designer and collector Wesley Mancini. These embroidered raffia cloths demonstrate extraordinary technical mastery and were fashioned into ceremonial shirts and skirts. African Art in the Crosland Gallery showcases various mediums, including: masks, sculpture, pottery, and textiles. 


Online Resources:

  • Learn more about the important thematic elements of African art via this online exhibit from the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Cycles: African Art Through Life 

  • The Smithsonian Institute has an entire museum devoted to African art! Explore it here: National Museum of African Art
  • Watch as curator Gus Casely-Hayford reveals the influence African art had on Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse: Hayford on YouTube    


Teacher's Resources:  


 Selected Print Resources in The Mint Museum Library:




Created by Shannon Barringer, intern for The Mint Museum Library