Museum Hours: 10AM to 5PM. Open Friday - Sunday.

Art of Africa

In this gallery you will see art created by many indigenous peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies geographically on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. Due to the diversity of cultures in sub-Saharan Africa, art from this region has a great deal of variety. However, we can identify common traits of much of the art of sub-Saharan Africa including: the human image is a favored subject, artists use intense color, three-dimensional works and sculpture are more popular than paintings, and abstraction is preferred over realism. The sub-Saharan African indigenous peoples also consider that art makes useful objects more beautiful.

Art of Africa Masks

Ceremonial Masks of Africa

The traditional cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa are renowned for their rich heritage of ritual and ceremonial masks. These masks play a crucial role in the expression of religious and spiritual beliefs and are widely recognized as symbolizing the cultural heritage of the region. The creation of these intricate works of art is a skill passed down through generations, with the knowledge of the symbolism and meaning behind each mask handed down from father to son. These masks serve as powerful emblems of cultural identity and serve to preserve the traditions and customs of Sub-Saharan Africa for future generations.

Blackhawk Museum Art of Africa Wood Carvings

The Makonde Wooden Sculptures

The Makonde are recognized as a premier source of woodcarving in East Africa, renowned for their imaginative woodcrafts and family tree sculptures that embody their cultural and spiritual beliefs. Hailing from Mozambique and currently residing in Tanzania, the Makonde people have a rich tradition of creating intricate works of art from African Blackwood. These pieces are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also serve as powerful expressions of their heritage and beliefs, capturing the essence of their family life and cultural traditions.

Blackhawk Museum Art of Africa Musical Instruments

The Instruments of Africa

Music holds a significant place in the cultural fabric of African society, serving as a vital means of communication and celebration. Across the continent, music plays a functional role in the lives of people and is deeply entwined with various aspects of daily life, including marriage, birth, rites of passage, hunting, and political activities. The rich tradition of music in Africa serves not only as a source of entertainment, but also as a means of preserving and relaying historical events, making it an integral part of the continent's cultural heritage

Blackhawk Museum Art of Africa Mask

Schedule Your Tour

The Blackhawk Museum offers guided tours for groups of 10 or more by appointment only. Two tours per group, per day, are available. Group admission pricing is extended if tickets are paid in advance or with one group ticket purchased at the Reception Desk at the time of the tour. Book a tour by clicking the link below or contact for more information.

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