Installation view of Design for Mobile Living, June 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.
Installation view of Design for Mobile Living, June 2016. Photo by Mitro Hood.

Exhibition highlights artworks worn or associated with the body

BALTIMORE, MD (June 29, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) explores the ways in which nomadic life shapes creativity and artistic form. On view now through November 27, Design for Mobile Living: Art from Eastern Africa presents 28 visually striking works, including examples of necklaces, bracelets, shields, fertility dolls, and vessels. Many never before on view, the objects were created by 19th and 20th century artists who lived in cattle herding groups from the Great Rift Valley to the horn of the
African continent. Light-weight, portable objects showcase how in mobile societies body ornamentation becomes art. Kalenjin, Maasai, Samburu, Somali, and Turkana artists are represented.

“Few art museums have prioritized the collection and display of art from Eastern Africa,” said Kevin Tervala, Curatorial Fellow for the Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia & the Pacific Islands. “The BMA is proud to feature these works so that visitors can appreciate the artistic sensibilities of historic societies markedly different from our own.”

Organized by Kevin Tervala, Curatorial Fellow for the Arts of Africa, the Americas, Asia & the Pacific Islands, with Associate Curator for African Arts Shannen Hill.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Amy L. Gould and Matthew S. Polk, Jr.

African Art Collection
The BMA has one of the earliest and most important collections of African art in the United States with more than 2,000 objects spanning from ancient Egypt to contemporary Zimbabwe. A major gift from the collection of Janet and Alan Wurtzburger in 1954 marked the beginning of a permanent display of African art at the BMA and assured a significant place for African art within the museum’s growing collection. More than 200 African cultures are represented in the collection. Diverse in medium, works range from paintings and headdresses to masks, figures, staffs, textiles, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and pottery. Several pieces are internationally known as the best of their type.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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Press Contacts

For media in Baltimore:

Anne Brown
Baltimore Museum of Art
Senior Director of Communications

Sarah Pedroni
Baltimore Museum of Art
Communications Manager

For media outside Baltimore:

Alina Sumajin
PAVE Communications