Yesterday, at Gallery 199, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Yor, U.S., opened Kongo: Power and Majesty, an exhibition of ancient art of Central Africa's civilization regarded as one of the world's greatest artistic traditions. The exhibition is showing till January 6, 2016.
|Power figure: seated female nursing child (nkisi). Photograph: The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Steven Kossak, The Kronos Collections, New York|
According the museum, it’s an international loan exhibition that explores the region's history and culture through 146 of the most inspired creations of Kongo masters from the late fifteenth through the early twentieth century.
The earliest of these creations were diplomatic missives sent by Kongo sovereigns to their European counterparts during the Age of Exploration; they took the form of delicately carved ivories and finely woven raffia cloths embellished with abstract geometric patterns. Admired as marvels of human ingenuity, such Kongo works were preserved in princely European Kunstkammer, or cabinets of curiosities, alongside other precious and exotic creations from across the globe.
With works drawn from sixty institutional and private lenders across Europe and the United States, Kongo: Power and Majesty relates the objects on view to specific historical developments and challenges misconceptions of Africa's relationship with the West. In doing so, it offers a radical, new understanding of Kongo art over the last five hundred years.