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UCLA Fowler Museum Collections

Africa

One of the largest collections of African arts in the United States, the Fowler Museum’s holdings encompass metalwork, wood carvings, textiles, musical instruments, popular urban arts, and ceramics. These arts come from throughout the African continent and span millennia, reflecting the vibrancy and diversity of the arts from nearly every time period and region of the continent. Large portions come from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and South Africa. There are many strengths in the collection: Yoruba arts, Kuba and Lega style arts, Senegalese and Ghanaian popular arts, ironwork from West and Central Africa, and the collection from Askut, Sudan stand out as highlights. The collection histories of these works range, broadly, from objects collected during the colonial period by tourists, administrators, missionaries, soldiers, and others to arts that were field collected, archaeologically excavated, or commissioned during the post-colonial period. The depth and breadth of this collection—geographically, temporally, and in terms of provenance—speaks to the complex history associated with this area of the collection, making the arts of Africa a vibrant collection for its historical, aesthetic, and research qualities.

Africa standing figure

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