Senufo: The Art and identity in West Africa

Cleveland Museum of Art, February  22, 2015 – May 31, 2015
Saint Louis Art Museum, June 28, 2015 – September 27, 2015
Musée Fabre Montpellier, November 28, 2015 – March 6, 2016

Some of the most beloved artistic creations of sub-Saharan Africa, masks, figures, and decorative art labeled as Senufo have been the subject of numerous studies by African, American, and European scholars since the 1930s. The interest in sculpture identified as Senufo was largely stimulated by its discovery by the artistic avant-garde in the early twentieth century. Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger were among those to find inspiration in the oeuvre of their West African counterparts. Featuring nearly 160 loans from museums and private collections in Europe, Canada, and the United States, Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa examines the shifting meanings of the term Senufo since the late nineteenth century and investigates assumptions underlying the labeling of art as Senufo. Revealing the shortcomings of labels tied to limited cultural or ethnic groups, the exhibition encourages a closer look at individual objects and their particular histories. Organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and based on the research of scholar Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi.

Senufo - Poster of the exhibition at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier