As the museum celebrates 30 years as a member of the Smithsonian Institution we offer this glimpse into the history of an art museum.
Art and artifacts from Africa are sometimes comprised of materials of unknown origin, as was the case with the National Museum of African Art’s nkisi mbumba—medicine skull—a Kongo power object containing a primate skull embedded in a woven basket and covered with encrusted pigment. This video documents the inquiry into the species identification of the skull by presenting the process of X-radiography with conservator Stephanie Hornbeck and the expert consultation undertaken with primatologist Richard Thorington in the Central African primates storage area at the National Museum of Natural History, conducted in May 2009.
Edit of African art filmed at the British Museum and Horniman Museum
Official website: susan-vogel.com/Anatsui
This vivid portrait of Africa’s most acclaimed living artist was filmed over two years in Italy, Nigeria, and USA. Anatsui’s huge sumptuous wall hangings, made of recycled bottle tops transformed by thousands of hours of labor, created a sensation at the Venice Biennale. Director Susan Vogel, a noted authority on African art, shows the public artist celebrated in Venice; getting supplies in his home town, Nsukka; inside his studio composing artwork with the help of a dozen young assistants. Finally, in his private home, Anatsui talks about a youthful discovery that clouded his life.
TITLE: Fold Crumple Crush: the Art of El Anatsui
DIRECTOR: Susan Vogel
PRODUCER: Prince Street Pictures, New York
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Kpelle Isaac, Accra
DISTRIBUTOR: Icarus Films
RELEASE: April 2011