It’s the last week for what has been called one of the most important collections of West African art ever shown in the United States at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibit, offering a glimpse into Nigeria’s kingdom of Ife, known as a central point for trade and art, which was at its cultural peak between the 12th and 15th centuries. This is a traveling exhibition of works of examples of brass, copper, stone and terra cotta sculptures noted for their visual power, complexity and detailed workmanship assembled by the Museum for African Art in New York in collaboration with the Nigerian National Commission on Museums and Monuments and the Fundacion Marcelino Botin of Santander, Spain. Highlights of the exhibit include life-size portrait heads of copper and alloys that employ techniques far advanced for the time.
These works, long buried, were discovered in 1938 by laborers digging a foundation. This collection provides an unprecedented view into the ancient world and the ancient artists who created the individual works. This week is your last chance to peek into the kingdom of Ife. Details. This exhibition has been taking a “back seat” to the famed Picasso exhibition, which closed on May 15th – but it is worthy of a dedicated trip to take advantage of this opportunity and the many other collections of VMFA.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located at 200 N Boulevard, between Richmond’s historic Fan District and the Museum District – just steps from Richmond’s premier bed and breakfast inn, just a mile from Richmond’s city center.