AFRICAN BEAUTY THROUGH AFRICAN EYES

Pigment International
1 min readFeb 27, 2023
Pair of Headdresses (Ciwara Kunw), mid-19th to early 20th century

Decolonizing African art was the goal of the exhibit African Beauty Through African Eyes that closed out Black History Month at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibit included more than 250 sculptures from dozens of distinct cultures across the African continent.

When Westerners began collecting, studying African art in the early 20th century their admiration of the work was often without context or attribution. Among those collectors were some of the standard bearers of the European art world at that time — Picasso, Gaugin and Matisse who incorporated their admiration of the art into their work.

Further, the exhibit explores concepts of beauty — often tied to goodness; and ugliness — tied to immorality. As such the exhibition included adornments — jewelry, headdresses, and many hair adornments, confirming the importance of grooming, hair and beauty to our ancestors.

The goal of the exhibition was to elevate the local indigenous perspectives of the works’ makers and communities.

Also in this week’s newsletter we celebrate the 100th birthday of Dr. Samella Lewis and we look at art everywhere as we wrap up Black History Month. Read the full newsletter here.

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Pigment International

PIGMENT-Intl ® is a multi-media arts collective redefining global arts, culture, and innovation. www.pigmentintl.com