African art in the news (August 2015)

J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (Nigerian, 1930–2014) Untitled (Mkpuk Eba), 1974. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2010.168).

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (Nigerian, 1930–2014) – Untitled (Mkpuk Eba), 1974. Gelatin silver print. Image courtesy of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (2010.168).

A personal selection of some news items I encountered last month..

  • The rich tradition of portrait photography in west Africa is explored in a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (info). In and Out of the Studio showcases over 80 images taken from the 1870s to 1970s, ranging from casual shots to formal portraits, and features some of the stars of west African photography such as Malick Sidibé and Samuel Fosso. The exhibition runs 31 August to 3 January.
  • At the Brunei Gallery in London’s School of Oriental and African Studies the exhibition Missionaries and Idols of Polynesia still funds until 26 September; David Attenborough stated it was profoundly emotionally moving, from every point of view. More info (and pictures) here.
  • The first stone of the new National Museum of Congo in Kinshasa will be laid this year; a delegation of experts of South-Korea visited the site last year – the works should have to be finished by 2018 (info, in French). Strong winds had blown off parts of the roof of the reserves in 2011 and 2014, exposing thousands of works to rain.
  • Also in Kinshasa, the acclaimed Congolese photographer Kiripi Katembo Siku has died; he was only 36 years old (info)
  • The Musée de Quai Branly in Paris has organized a virtual visit of their current exhibition, Maîtres de la sculpture de Côte d’Ivoire, via videoconference. Using a smartphone and two tablets, a select public in Abidjan could follow the visit and learn more about their national heritage – more info here (in French).
  • The record sales at the Paris offices of Christie’s and Sotheby’s unsurprisingly did attract some media coverage. Here Pierre Amrouche shares his insights.
  • The friends of the Musée du Quai Branly have bought the rare Attié mask that was sold by Sotheby’s Paris in June; a great addition to the museum’s holdings.
  • Sotheby’s Paris will be selling a selection of 10 African art objects from the Murray Frum collection, highlighted by a wonderful Luba staff.
  • Across the ocean, Heinrich Schweizer is no longer at Sotheby’s New York.
  • In St. Louis, Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa (originally curated for the Cleveland Museum of Art by Constantine Petridis) has made its second stop. Read a interview with their African art curator, Nichole Bridges, here.
  • In Arkansas, the Philander Smith College received 25 pieces of African art, supposedly worth nearly $ 1 million. I wonder who appraised them – you can find two pictures here.
  • The renovation of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren is still on schedule – see a short tour by the architect below.