New Exhibition Of Traditional African Art Opens At Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center

Contact: Anna Koster, Public Relations Manager, 650-725-4657

STANFORD, CA, 20 August 2001—The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University presents an exhibition entitled "African Art in Context" that opened this fall free to the public. This exhibition spotlights approximately 75 objects selected from the Cantor Arts Center's collection as well as items on loan. Photographs and written material incorporated into the exhibition put the objects in context and provide insight into the function of the diverse art forms on display.

"This is the first re-installation of our African art gallery since the Center's re-opening in 1999. We are pleased to offer this fresh view of African art enhanced by pieces we have recently brought into our collection," remarked Manuel Jordán, Ph.D., the Phyllis Wattis Curator of the Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. New acquisitions include approximately 15 items of dress and body ornament from the Himba people of Namibia, elaborate headdresses, necklaces with shell pendants, and items of clothing. A small selection of those objects are displayed in a section of the exhibition dedicated to the art of southern Africa.

"Besides the Himba dress and body ornaments, there are other items that we are excited to show for the first time at the Center. We recently acquired a large Igala maternity figure from Nigeria and a rare Dinga male initiation mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Jordán said. The maternity figure was given by the Robert and Ruth Halperin Foundation in memory of the late Ruth K. Franklin, Jordán's predecessor. The mask, used in rituals that initiated adolescent males to manhood among the Dinga people, is a museum purchase made possible by the Phyllis Wattis Program Fund.

The Center is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m. Admission is free. Docents provide free public tours of the Center and its art. Tours do not require a reservation for groups of 10 or fewer. Call 650-723-3469 for dates and times of specific tours and to request tours for larger groups. Call 650-723-4177 for directions, parking instructions, and information about events, and exhibitions in the Center's 24 galleries.

Chokwe Mask

Chokwe, Angola
Mask (mwana pwo)
20th century
Wood, fiber, metal, button, and camwood
Lent by the Heymann Collection