African Masterpieces at the Museum of World Culture April 12- November 30 2014

The critically acclaimed travelling exhibition “African Masterpieces – the story of the Kingdom of Ife”
is now coming to Gothenburg, Sweden. It opens on the 12th of April at the Museum of World Culture and features some of the world’s most sophisticated historical masterpieces. With “African Masterpieces” the museum wants to contribute to showing a new image of Africa’s history.

This is the first exhibition that focuses on the art from Ife, Nigeria and tells the story of the kingdom, which was an early cosmopolitan centre of power in West Africa. The artists in Ife created sculptures and other ritual objects in metal, stone and terracotta that bestowed the region a place in world art history.

The Golden Age of Ife art was in the 14th century. At that time, the most important works – the copper alloy heads – were created. Objects made from copper, “the red gold”, were considered to be extremely valuable and were reserved for the royals. There are a total of 19 known heads in the world, 10 of them can be seen in this exhibition. In all, over 100 sculptures from the 12th to the 16th centuries tell the story of the African civilization of Ife, the ancestors of Yoruba, one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups today.

-          Here at the Museum of World Culture we strive to give perspective on established patterns, traditions and thoughts, says Museum Director Karl Magnusson. With “African masterpieces”, we are adding a few more dimensions to the important discussion about historical and contemporary ways of seeing the world.

“Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria” has previously been shown at the Fundación Botín in Santander, Spain (2009) and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid (2009) before the critically acclaimed exhibit was shown at the British Museum in London (2010), where it was called “Kingdom of Ife”. The exhibition tour in the USA (2010-2012) included the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Museums of World Culture present “African Masterpieces” in a new and exciting way. It was last on display at the Skeppsholmen Caverns in Stockholm, where it attracted a large audience and had excellent reviews.

For further information
Communications Officer Johanna Flemström, telephone +46 (0)10-456 1161

Press images:

“Dynasty and Divinity” is originally produced by the Museum for African Art, New York, and the Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain, in cooperation with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria.

Johanna Flemström
+ 46 (0) 10-456 1161
+ 46 (0) 727-067110

The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg is one of four Swedish Museums of World Culture. The other three are the Museum of Ethnography, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, and the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm. Annual number of visitors are about one million.