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Akan Art in the Collection of the DIA: Bulletin of the DIA, Volume 91

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By NII O. Quarcoopome

This Akan Bulletin looks at the Akan Art currently in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA's Akan corpus is distinguished from the larger African art collection in two significant ways: among all the African visual traditions, Akan art evinces the richest diversity of mediums-wood, gold, silver, brass, iron, clay, ivory beads and fibers; and it is the only African culture that uses gold extensively in creating art. Moreover, Akan art is among the most accessible and comprehensible to general audiences because of its rich, eye-catching visual-verbal nexus.

The Akan Bulletin is not intended as a comprehensive exploration of the Akan corpus but, rather, as an overview with the goal of achieving three key objectives:

  • To publish an anthology of the finest art objects from this particular African culture, which are currently dispersed throughout the permanent gallery.
  • To give some exposure to the portion of the Akan collection that has for too long languished in storage due to limited space in the permanent galleries.
  • To open the entire Akan corpus to public and scholarly scrutiny and thereby obtain missing information about individual pieces.

Generating new scholarship could produce new possibilities for interpretation; and explicating the objects' functions, meanings, contexts, and art-historical significance would enrich the experience of visitors viewing the Akan collection. It is hoped that increased awareness of the scope of the collection will not only spur scholarly research but will help the DIA move forward with its strategic goal of achieving greater relevance in Detroit's communities, especially among African-Americans and the diverse and rapidly growing group of African immigrants.

Paperback, 124 pages

Dimensions: 8-3/16 x 11-3/8 x 3/8 inches

About the Author:
NII O. Quarcoopome is the Co-Chief Curator and Curator of African Art of the Detroit Institute of Arts

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