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A closer look at South Africa

Their presence was part of the Designation-funded Africa project to explore a sizeable collection of museum objects from South Africa. Much of this material was beadwork that had been acquired......Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania & the Americas, and Nessa Leibhammer, honorary research fellow at the University of Cape Town. I had met Catherine whilst conducting......research into beadwork from Kenya at the British Museum stores. The collection numbers some 500 items and includes items from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mozambique and Swaziland. Always in the...

Researching Africa collections

Dr. Kingdon is the Curator of the Africa collections at the World Museum, Liverpool. He was born and raised in Africa and was taught to carve in wood by Makonde......artists. These historic items were acquired by people who travelled to the African continent at a time when Europeans were working with existing trade networks and official powers (prior to......the destruction caused by colonisation). To acquire objects like shrine figures, Europeans had to develop their relationship with a successful trading association such as the Lemba in Central Africa. Power...

New finds from Henry Townsend’s letters

...of the work I am doing for my dissertation. With my research, I intend to shed light on the mission of Reverend Townsend in West Africa, with particular focus on......Reverend Townsend’s letters to/from the CMS during his time in West Africa. From these documents, I gained insight into what prompted his desire to become a missionary, his personal background......before leaving Exeter in October 1836, and what he thought of his experience in West Africa. From the timeline gathered, Townsend spent a total of 39 years in mission, 22...

The role of women on display

...a male-dominated profession throughout Africa. There are some cases of female involvement in this process but not a huge number. Masquerade Within the coming displays on Africa, there are some......of textiles as it is a strong aspect in the textiles themselves. This segregation of men and women in textiles is not limited to Africa but is present in many......by men who were often missionaries, traders or in the military. However, this is not the case exclusively. Many textiles from Africa were collected by women, especially the women of...

Black History Month: ‘Portrait of an African’.

...Black Portraiture’ project: http://peterbrathwaitebaritone.com/rediscoveringblackportraiture Art UK’s Art Detective discussion thread about the identity of Portrait of an African: https://www.artuk.org/artdetective/discussions/discussions/who-is-the-sitter-in-portrait-of-an-african-attributed-to-allan-ramsay Paterson Joseph’s challenge to art historians: https://artuk.org/discover/stories/the-outrageous-neglect-of-african-figures-in-art-history Art UK’s blog on......the 1960s it was suggested that the sitter was Olaudah Equiano (1745 – 1797), an African who had been enslaved as a child and taken from Africa to the plantations......of Barbados and Virginia around 1756. Although most enslaved Africans were made to work on the plantations, Equiano was able to work on ships instead and he travelled widely before...

Nomadic peoples under pressure – the Baka of Cameroon

...threat by Western colonial conservation projects. For the Baka of SW Cameroon in Central Africa, how they interact with their environment is not a by-product of their actions but an......the Sun-saturated latitudes in Africa such as the Baka have adapted to higher levels of UV. However, the overlapping branches of the forest create canopies which block sunlight and limit......incompatibilities between views on colonial conservation strategies and the African moral economy (Neumann, 1998). There is an inconsistency in this context between “hunting” and “poaching” which is one of the...

A curator looking at textiles in London

As part of RAMM’s Discovering Worlds: Africa project, Dr. Julie Hudson as a lead curator of the Africa collections at the British Museum (a key project partner) was invited to......project which sees new research focused on the Africa collection. As with the work done on the Pacific collections, RAMM is improving the interpretation of its African collection which will......of its African collection which will make it more accessible to our visitors. The Akwete cloth discussed above will feature in a major redisplay of RAMM’s African collection in 2018....

Central Africa

In 2005-6, a piece of foundation work was undertaken by researcher Tabitha Cadbury to analyse the whole Central African collection at RAMM