Heroes: Principles of African Greatness

November 16, 2019 – August 1, 2022

Toussaint Louverture et la vieille esclave (Toussaint Louverture and the elderly slave)
Ousmane Sow b. 1935, Dakar, Senegal

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 1

See on Map Floor Plan

Through art, artists tell stories—stories of the world's current complexity, but also visions of a world that could yet be. Heroes features a selection of masterworks from the the museum's permanent collection in a new, dynamic installation that tells the story of key heroic principles and people in Africa’s arts and history.

The exhibition invites visitors to consider the core values of leadership —justice, integrity, generosity, and empathy among them—embodied in selected art works. Each work is paired by way of a digital overlay with a specific historic African person(s) who embodied the thematic value realized in a given work, offering a greater depth of accessibility and historical specificity to the stories our galleries offer our visitors. It expresses the museum’s commitment to the dignity, complexity, and universally accessible excellence of African art history and to the telling of unique, compelling, and specific historical African stories.