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Georgia Museum of Artdisplays works of traditional African art from the Collection of Don Kole
Dance mask, ca. 1935–1965. East Pende (Democratic Republic of Congo). Painted wood, 10 x 17 x 5 1/2 inches. Collection of Don Kole.
ATHENS, GA.- The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia presents the exhibition “From Savanna to Savannah: African Art from the Collection of Don Kole” from Jan. 19 to April 14, 2013. Featuring more than 40 works of three-dimensional traditional art from the early to mid-20th century, the exhibition includes sacred, meaningful objects created by numerous peoples in sub-Saharan Africa. Works of art in various media—wood, bronze, terracotta, sandstone and cloth—from regions as diverse as Cameroon, Guinea, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo present examples from the visual and material culture of Africa that demonstrate cultural concepts and religious beliefs.

Chief curator and curator of American art Paul Manoguerra organized the exhibition from the collection of Don Kole, a Savannah-based real estate investor, with the assistance of William Darrell Moseley, a Tennessee-based expert in African art. Kole and his wife, Kaye, have long been passionate about African art and have made numerous trips to the continent to build their collection and educate themselves about traditional arts.

Manoguerra said, “These objects on display from the Kole Collection present the passion and enthusiasm of a Georgia collector for African art. The Georgia Museum of Art is proud to show these works of art from the Kole Collection and to display this sampling of the aesthetics of African art.”

Objects on view include furniture, masks, fertility dolls, pottery, weaponry, musical instruments and clothing, many of which bear elaborate decoration in the form of carving, paint or beading. The influence of African art on modern art is well documented, but Manoguerra said he believes these works can stand on their own aesthetically without being tied to the Western art historical canon.

This exhibition is part of an ongoing initiative by the museum to deal with African and African American themes, sparked in part by Larry and Brenda Thompson’s gift in early 2012 of a large collection of works by African American artists. Much of that gift is currently on tour in the exhibition “Tradition Redefined: The Larry and Brenda Thompson Collection of African American Art,” which will open at the Knoxville Museum of Art in April 2013. GMOA has a history of displaying African art that dates as far back as the 1970s, although it has been some time since its last exhibition on the subject.





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