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Photo by Leisa Thompson

African Art and the Shape of Time

August 18, 2012 - February 3, 2013

African Art and the Shape of Time explores how African art gives material form to diverse concepts of temporality, history and memory. African art is often interpreted in Western analytical frameworks as expressions of timeless myths and rituals, interrupted only by the colonial encounter.

African Art and the Shape of Time complicates such conventional views by considering diverse modes for reckoning time and its philosophical, social, and religious significance. The exhibition includes 30 works from the University of Michigan Museum of Art, National Museum of African Art, Fowler Museum at UCLA, as well as several Detroit area private collections, and is organized around five themes that explore the multiplicity of time in Africa: The Beginning of Things, Embodied Time, Moving Through Time, Global Time, and NOW. The Museum has published a catalogue in conjunction with the exhibition as part of the new UMMA Books series.


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Health System and the James L. and Vivian A. Curtis Endowment Fund. Additional generous support is provided by the CEW Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund.