The Art of the Personal Object

September 25, 1991 – March 5, 2007

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

Sublevel 1 Floor Plan

After an extensive reinstallation, this exhibition of over 100 objects -- drawing from the museum's permanent collection -- features utilitarian objects that come principally from eastern and southern Africa and celebrates their aesthetic value. Chairs, stools, headrests, snuff containers, pipes, cups, a drinking horn, bowls and a grain-storage basket with lid, remain from the original installation. Tuareg knives used for combing hair, hats, spoons, a Somali rosewater bottle, and a Yoruba gameboard have been added to the exhibition.

The utilitarian art forms presented in the exhibition were personal objects--individually owned, used, and appreciated in daily life. They are now displayed as singular examples of both individual creativity and the creativity of African cultures. The majority of the objects date from the late 19th-century to early 20th-century.

32-page booklet with color illustrations