July 1, 2009--February 21, 2010
Artful Animals, an exhibition dedicated to
young audiences, explores how African artists create striking works of
art using images from an array of domestic and untamed animals. From
rock art to contemporary painting, audiences will discover animals used
as symbols of royal arts, in masquerades for the ancestors and others
rarely seen. Many of the elements of design are derived through direct
observation of the animals in their natural habitat. It is the animal's
conduct and distinct behaviors that carry the messages in performances,
stories and proverbs. The approximately 125 works capture not only the
physical characteristics of animals but also the many ways that
animals, from spiders to leopards, act out our human shortcomings and
successes. Themes include notions of nurturing, power, wisdom,
transformation, beauty and aggression.
The National Museum of African Art is collaborating with Smithsonian
education units at the National Zoological Park, National Postal
Museum, National Museum of Natural History and Discovery Theater. Each
partner site will feature a host of multidisciplinary activities.
The programming project has been supported by the Smithsonian School Programming Fund.