Heroes – A new perspective on the art of Africa

  • 26 February to 3 June 2012

    Heroes is the first comprehensive exhibition of unparalleled sculptures which illuminate early African history. The artworks come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée du quai Branly in Paris, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium and many other museums and international private collections.


    “If you still think that African art is not your thing, there's an exhibition that may change your mind. It's called ‘Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures,’ it is as beautiful to look at as a show can possibly be. It is a perception changer in other ways too, as it argues, through demonstration, against basic misunderstandings surrounding this art. African art has no history? No independent tradition of realism? No portraiture? All African sculpture looks basically alike, meaning ‘primitive’? African and Western art are fundamentally different in content and purpose? Wrong across the board.”

    - Holland Cotter, The New York Times

  • Program


    Sunday, 26th February 2012, 11.00

    Enshrining Greatness through African Sculpture
    Alisa LaGamma, Kuratorin für die Kunst Afrikas, Ozeaniens und Amerika,
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


    Wednesday, 14th March 2012, 19.30

    The Ancestor as Hero/Heroine
    Monica Blackmun Visonà, Professorin für Kunstgeschichte,
    University of Kentucky, Lexington


    Wednesday, 18th April 2012, 19.30 (in German)

    Konkurrenz um Ruhm und Ehre: Könige und Kunst im Kameruner Grasland
    Christraud M. Geary, Teel Senior Kuratorin für afrikanische Kunst,
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston




    Thursday, 8th March 2012, 19.30

    Lamin Jobarteh – Kora-Solo und Griot-Gesang aus Gambia

    Friday, 23th March 2012, 20.00

    Das Zürcher Kammerorchester im Museum Rietberg

    More about the exhibition

    An overview of the exhibition »

    Unkown Heroes
    Enshrining Greatness
    Visual Poems in Praise of an Ever-Present Past
    Pageantry and Ritual
    The Golden Age of Shyáám and Beyond
    Sublime Chiefs and the Persistence of Memory
    Dancing figures and Effigy Thrones
    Kom Leaders
    Of Hunter princes and Cherished Maidens
    Enduring Markers of Greatness More»
    The Golden Days of the Kingdom

    Program »