Telling Stories with Fragments: Presenting West Africa’s Medieval History Through Caravans of Gold Dr Kevin Dumouchelle, Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
Please join us for the second Art History Research Lecture, delivered by Dr Kevin Dumouchelle, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.
Dr Dumouchelle will be presenting on the exhibition ‘Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa’.
The first major exhibition to explore global medieval Saharan Africa, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa features over 300 works primarily from the eighth to the 16th centuries CE from across the Saharan region of West Africa as well as its diverse peripheries and sites of exchange—from England and Italy to Iran and China, as well as Nigeria and Ghana.
Developed first at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, the exhibition includes unprecedented loans from national museums and institutions in Morocco, Mali and Nigeria, the result of nearly a decade of collaborative research and planning with partners on the African continent.
This talk will examine the key ideas and art works explored in this pathbreaking exhibition, as well as some of the interpretative and museological challenges involved in adapting such a project to an institution like the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
Gold from West Africa was the engine that drove the movement of things, people and ideas across Africa, Europe and the Middle East in an interconnected medieval world. As the incredible works in this exhibition show, it is not possible to understand the emergence of the early modern world without this West African story. Africa’s history truly is a world history.