Gallery Views of The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects From Southeast Africa

April 16, 2011-February 26, 2012
East Wing Design Gallery

The materials and size of the works in this exhibition reflect the migrant culture of the cattle herders who made and used them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The objects' symbolism and meaning reveal their makers' and owners' belief in the continued influence of the ancestors and the economic and religious value of cattle. Whether household or personal items, they are typically small and portable. Although most of these works were intended for daily use-their softened edges and lustrous patinas indicate continuous handling-it would be a mistake to view them as merely decorative or utilitarian. They signaled not only gender, rank, or prestige, but many also acted as intermediaries between humans and spirits.


The Cleveland Museum of Art is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this exhibition with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

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