permanent?? 2017: Currents: Water in African Art. Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC

Water is in all of us—we need water to exist. Water is a source of food, either directly from fishing and hunting or indirectly from irrigated crops. Its currents flow through myths, metaphors, and rituals. Water’s fluidity means there are as many meanings associated with it as there are forms. Diverse and wide-ranging in material, time period, style, and intended use, the objects in this exhibition span the continent of Africa to explore the importance of water for both practical and artistic purposes.

Oceans separate continents, but their currents also connect them. Waterways deliver new ideas and luxuries. These transportation routes bring both friends and enemies.

Below the surface, water also holds powerful meaning. Water from tears can relate to the profound relationship between a mother and child or connect the spirit world with that of the living. In many parts of Africa, water makes up one part of a philosophical triad along with the sky and the earth, with water the most changeable and most traversable realm. This shifting intersection explains the influence of gods and the ancestors in daily life.

Water features frequently in origin stories. The Dogon of Mali recount tales of aqueous primordial ancestors and of a dog discovering a hidden water source during migration to a new home. The Yoruba along the Oshun River speak of a king’s daughter who was transformed into the river. Other water spirits take form as humans, animals, or a combination of both. These spirits can be protective, yet can also be dangerous if not approached properly.

The iconography of water lends itself to fluid cultural adaptation, like the foreign snake charmer whose likeness was adopted for Mami Wata, the mother of waters. Aquatic creatures worked particularly well as subjects for Akan weights representing subjective proverbs. Water imagery is also tied closely to rulers, such as in the Benin Kingdom, where the use of coral-bead regalia links back to control of oceanic foreign trade.

In their creativity, diversity, and beauty, these artworks from the museum’s permanent collection prove that water is one of most potent forces on earth.

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2016???: Myths, Animals, Spirits: Indians of South America. Museum Fünf Kontinente, München.

  • Farbenprächtiger huipil aus Guatemala

Myths, Animals, Spirits: Indians of South America

Central and America, extending over almost 8,000 kilometres from the southern border of the USA to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, are inhabited by people of various Indian civilisations. Among the best known is that of the Inca whose empire at its zenith around 1530 stretched 4,000 kilometres from today’s Ecuador to Chile. The exhibition focuses on splendid artefacts belonging to the Inca civilization and their predecessors, the Moche and Nasca.

Precious gold objects, puzzling ceramic vessels and artistic stone sculptures tell tales of the world of the spirits, of relationships between people, animals and plants, of struggle and war. A separate exhibit area is dedicated to the colourful textiles of weavers of the Guatemalan highlands who see themselves as descendants of the Maya. Robes and textile accessories like these were a vibrant expression of cultural identity already before the arrival of the Europeans and have remained so despite constant change to this day.

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2016???: Oceania. Island Worlds in the Pacific. Museum Fünf Kontinente, München.

  • Giebelwand eines Zeremonial-Vorratshauses für Yams, Papua-Neuguinea

Oceania. Island Worlds in the Pacific

More than 7,500 atolls and islands are scattered over the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean. This world covers over one third of the earth’s surface and is known today as Oceania. Europeans have subdivided the huge area geographically and culturally in Melanesia (the “black” islands), Micronesia (the “small” islands), and Polynesia (the “many” islands).

For the inhabitants, the ocean was never a dividing factor but on the contrary one which has always connected people and cultures. In the Oceania exhibition you will see objects unique in the world which demonstrate this connection and offer insights into traditional lifestyles.

The richly ornamented fishing boat from Botel Tobago, the artistic stick chart from the Marshall Islands and the painted paddles from the Solomon Islands bear witness to the outstanding maritime skills of this region.

Malanggan masks from New Ireland, ceremonial boards from Papua-Neuguinea and ancestor figures from the Cook Islands serve as an introduction to the local worlds of religious ideas and rituals.

To this day many Oceanians believe that their ancestors created and shaped the world and taught their descendants how to interact properly with each other and with nature.

Magnificent works of art and ingeniously designed objects reflect such tales of creation and traditions about the nature of the world.

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2016???: The Orient. Amazing, yet so near. Museum Fünf Kontinente, München.

  • Detail from a filigrane ornamented metal-tableau

The Orient. Amazing, yet so near

The “Orient”, derived from the Latin word “oriens”, meaning “east” and referring to the rising sun, covers a geographical area from North Africa to the Near and Middle and extending as far as Central and South Asia. Influenced predominately by Islam, each region has its urban, rural and nomadic regional cultures, including non-Islamic minorities. All have unique features which have evolved historically.

The exhibition introduces you to the multifaceted world of the Orient. Centuries-old and contemporary art, objects reflecting deeply felt piety and even objects of everyday life hold many surprises. Radiant blue tiles, opulently carved house portals from Pakistan and an Indian garden pavilion of white marble all exemplify Oriental architecture. Splendid examples of ancient court art include an aquamanile in the form of a deer from Egypt, a plate from Iraq and exquisite Persian miniature paintings.

Works such as “Fumeé d´ambre gris” by the Moroccan-American photographer Lalla Essaydi and the collage “Mona Lisa” by the Iranian artist Aneh Mohammad Tatari provide insights into the exciting contemporary art scene.

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2016??: Sun dances and bison hunts. Indians of North America. Museum Fünf Kontinente, München

  • Blick in die Ausstellung

Sun dances and bison hunts. Indians of North America

The North American continent extends nearly 8,000 kilometres from the Artic to Alaska, Canada, and the USA all the way to Northern Mexico. As diverse as its scenery are the traditional cultures of the Indians and Eskimos. The exhibits reflect this variety and impressively demonstrate the ingenuity and aesthetics of their creators. Examples include the famous raven masks of the Kwakiutl, elaborate bead embroidery of the Sioux and the delightfully smooth soapstone figures of the Eskimo. Classical modern artists have been inspired by the Kachina dolls of the Hopi.

A painted cloth which once decorated a teepee tells stories of sun dances and celebrations, wars and bison hunts. Only children can discover the secrets of our cave. “Youngsters” of all ages are invited to search for clues.

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t/m 3 maart 2019 : ZieZo Marokko. Tropenmuseum Junior, Amsterdam

In Tropenmuseum Junior staat een vliegtuig voor je klaar. Stap in, riemen vast, op naar Marokko! Onderweg ontmoet je Esmaa, Fatima, Nasrdin en Yousef. Zij laten je meemaken wat ze zelf ontdekt hebben in Marokko, het land van hun ouders. Ze geven tips bij wie je langs moet gaan, wat je kan zien, proeven en doen. Volg hun spoor door de medina – een doolhof van straatjes – en maak een busreis dwars door Marokko. Ga aan de slag met mozaïek, kalligrafie, mode of keukengeheimen. Overal is wat te doen.

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