Laura De Becker, exhibition curator and UMMA's Helmut & Candis Stern Associate Curator of African Art, will lead a discussion of the visual elements of so-called "figures of power" from across the African continent on display in the exhibition Power Contained: The Art of Authority in Central and West Africa. Interestingly, the term "figures of power" may refer to wooden sculptures - which were seen as containers of powerful spirits and ancestors in their local context - or to living heads of state, who represent the wealth and power of the nation. Both these categories share important characteristics and are treated in similar ways, bringing into question the distinction between person and object, between individual and community.
In Conversation: All wrapped up: Figures of Power in Central and West Africa
Lead support for Power Contained: The Art of Authority in Central and West Africa is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the African Studies Center.