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African Pottery
to 01-06-02
Appearing In: 167


Beautiful forms, rich surface textures and colors of the earth characterize the hand-built clay vessels featured in a new exhibition opening May 6 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (950 Independence Ave. S.W.). “Beautiful Bodies:

Form and Decoration of African Pottery” continues through Jan. 6, 2002, in the museum’s Point of View gallery.

“Beautiful Bodies” presents 13 ceramic works made in the 19th and 20th centuries. All but one of the artworks are recent additions to the museum’s growing collection of traditional and contemporary African pottery.

The works on view, which come from all parts of Africa, were used for domestic or ritual purposes. Their globular shapes are enhanced by inventive surface patterns, additional materials and brilliant textures. The color schemes reflect the tones of the earth, from ochers to reds to rich browns. Among the vessels on view are:

• a work that is covered in woven hide

• a whimsical vessel reminiscent of a human figure with her hands on her hips

• a bottle-shaped vessel with colorful geometric designs

• a highly textured work covered in small nubs or spikes

Free programs

A series of free public programs complements the exhibition. Curator Andrea Nicolls will give a gallery talk on May 6 at 2p.m. On May31 and June21 at 6p.m., Veronika Jenke, head of the museum’s school and youth programs, will examine the forms and surfaces of the pottery in “Beautiful Bodies” and other exhibitions throughout the museum. On June 7, three films will be shown at 6 p.m.: “Hands of the Potter,” “Ceramic Gestures” and “Vessels of the Spirits: Pots and People in Northern Cameroon.”

The National Museum of African Art is open from 10a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. On Thursdays, from May 31 to Aug. 30, the museum will be open until 8 p.m. as part of “Art

Night on the Mall.” Telephone: (202) 357-2700 or (202) 357-1729 (TTY). National

Museum of African Art home page: www.si.edu/nmafa.


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