Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley

September 14, 2011 – February 12, 2012

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 2 Floor Plan

The Benue River Valley is the source of some of the most abstract, dramatic, and inventive sculpture in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet the many, diverse peoples flanking the 650-mile Benue River and their fascinating arts are far less known and studied than the populations living in northern and southern Nigeria. Central Nigeria Unmasked is the first major international exhibition to present a comprehensive view of the arts produced in the region. The more than 150 objects include full-bodied maternal images, sleek columnar statues, helmet masks adorned with naturalistic human faces, horizontal masks designed as stylized animal-human fusions, imaginatively anthropomorphized ceramic vessels, and elaborate regalia forged in iron and cast in copper alloys.

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