Genesis: Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture

November 19, 2002–July 6, 2003

Myths of Origin in Sixteen Other Cultures

The forty Bamana headdresses were complemented by a nearly equal number of related works from neighboring sub-Saharan African peoples. Through label text and contextual photographs, specific information was provided about each culture's distinct perspective and local traditions, yielding insight into the relationship between the visual arts in Africa and fundamental cultural ideas about the origins of various social institutions. The collection of works explored theories about the creation of humankind, ideas about the origins of a collective cultural heritage and political system, and genealogies that situate individuals within an extended history of descent.