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Exhibition weaves together unique histories and cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa

Through the original exhibition AFRICA: Sub-Saharan Diversity, the Hofstra University Museum (HUM) offers audiences a rare opportunity to explore 25 ethnic cultures across western and central Africa.  Themes of the exhibition, curated by Karen T. Albert, Associate Director of Exhibitions and collections, focus on “protection,” “prestige,” and “masquerade.” The works, on view in HUM’s Emily Lowe Gallery from January 26-August 12, 2016, include carved masks, weapons, wooden sculptures, jewelry and textiles – some of which have never before been available for public viewing.

A fully illustrated four-color catalog with essays accompanies the exhibition. A featured essay was contributed by Dr. Pascal Imperato, a distinguished Africanist, African art historian, author and ethnographer, who currently serves as service professor and dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center.  Additional in-gallery related interpretive materials include an interactive touch screen kiosk and a free Art Caper activity for children and families.

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Mali, Dogon peoples Horse and Rider, 20th century Iron with patina. Gift of Roda Graham. 

Beth E. Levinthal, HUM Executive Director, explains, “The growing African collection of the Museum provides outstanding examples of late 19th and early 20th century objects showcasing the cultural practices of the Sub-Saharan regions. We thank the New York State Council on the Arts and New York Community Bank Foundation for their support in bringing this unique exhibition to the public.”

Related programming begins on Thursday, February 11, 4:30-6:30 p.m., with an opening reception that is free and open to the public. HUM educators lead the Museum’s popular program, Second Saturdays at the HUM, Layer It! on Saturday, March 12, 1:30-2:30 p.m., which allows children and their adult companions to explore objects on view and then engage in a hands-on activity inspired by their gallery experiences. The fee for the Second Saturday program is $5 per child per session when prepaid and $7 per child per session when paid on the day of the program. HUM’s Collection Manager Kristy L. Caratzola  leads an installment of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union Global Explorations for Adults series, prompting closer examination of works in the exhibition on Friday, April 15, 2-3 p.m. The fee is $5 general and $3 for seniors (65+).

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Burkina Faso, Nouna, Bobo peoples Buffalo Mask, mid-20th century Wood with polychrome red and black vegetable pigments and white kaolin. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Pascal James Imperato.

For more information about this exhibit and associated public programs please call (516) 463-5672 or visit the Hofstra University website at

The Hofstra University Museum has been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive, continued accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Approximately 4% of museums nationwide have earned this distinguished recognition. Accreditation certifies that the Hofstra University Museum operates according to professional standards, manages its collections responsibly and provides quality service to the public.

Top image:

Nigeria, Yoruba peoples, Egungun Masquerade Costume, 19th-20th century. Fabric with strip woven dyed cotton, felt, metal coins, and mirrors. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sol Levitt.

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