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Displaying the arts of the Benue River Valley, Nigeria

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African Studies Seminar, Lent 2013 West Africa Research Series

Displaying the arts of the Benue River Valley, Nigeria

An illustrated talk based on the exhibition “Nigeria, Arts of the Benue Vallley”, currently at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (open until Sunday 27 January 2013).

This exhibition is the first to present a comprehensive overview of art produced by the many peoples inhabiting the region of Nigeria defined by the great Benue River, the most important tributary of the Niger. The exhibition aims to offer an accurate perception of the dynamic arts of this region, which is the cradle of some of the most spectacular art forms produced in sub-Saharan Africa.

Presenting more than 150 objects – sculptures and masks in wood, pottery and metal drawn from public institutions and private collections from the United States and Europe – the selection invites the visitor to discover the artworks of this little exhibited or studied region. Following the course of the Benue River in the footsteps of the first explorers, the exhibition places the objects in their geographical context and explores their history and the connections between the works of the different regions of the Benue valley.

Richard Fardon (FBA) is co-curator of the exhibition. He is also head of the SOAS Doctoral School and Professor of West African Anthropology. As an anthropologist of Africa, he is equally interested in past and present anthropological theory, and in the historical and contemporary ethnography of West Africa.

This talk is part of the Centre of African Studies Lent Seminar Series series.

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