19 Nov 2019 29 Mar 2020

Striking Iron

The Art of African Blacksmiths

"Striking Iron. The Art of African Blacksmiths" unveils the complex and rich technical nature of one of the world’s most sophisticated wrought iron traditions. The exhibition presents a novel panorama of creations by these master blacksmiths for over 2,500 years through 230 exceptional works.

About the exhibition

Very few places in the world have such a strong connection to iron as Sub-Saharan Africa. For over two millennia, the forging of one of the planet’s most fundamental materials has revolutionised the continent and profoundly shaped its communities and cultures, from fields to homes and from battlefields to religious sites. Under the hammer of African blacksmiths, masters of fire and virtuosos of transformation, the metal is cast, forged, beaten then metamorphosed into tools, or in some cases vested with social and spiritual power, always with incredible artistic sensitivity.

Coordinated by American blacksmith and artist Tom Joyce, the exhibition "Striking Iron. The Art of African Blacksmiths" presents the vast diversity of forms and traditions surrounding iron in different regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. 230 pieces produced between the 17th century and the modern day, ranging from wood sculptures to currencies in a myriad of shapes and sizes, diverse musical instruments, weapons and prestigious objects, all attesting to the talent and technical sophistication of African blacksmiths, figures that are equally venerated and feared. A unique compilation of works taken from public and private collections, originating from over fifteen countries including Nigeria, Mali, Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo, brought together at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in one of the most comprehensive displays ever presented.

"Striking Iron. The Art of African Blacksmiths" is organised by the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles. The exhibition is made possible by major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Generous support is also provided by the Martha and Avrum Bluming Exhibition Fund.

  • Categorie : Exhibitions
  • Head curator 

    • Tom Joyce, a MacArthur Fellow originally trained as a blacksmith

    Scientific Committee

    • Allen F. Roberts, UCLA Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
    • Marla C. Berns, Shirley & Ralph Shapiro Director, Fowler Museum
    • William J. Dewey, Director, African Studies Program and Associate Professor of Art History at Pennsylvania State University
    • Henry John Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History, Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Place:   Mezzanine est
  • TimeSlots:  
    From Tuesday 19 November 2019 at Sunday 29 March 2020
  • Closed on monday
    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:  10:30 am-07:00 pm
    Thursday:  10:30 am-10:00 pm
  • Accessibility:
    • Handicap visuel
    • LSF
    • Handicap auditif (sans T)
    • Handicap moteur
  • Public:   All publics
  • Permanent Collections
    Full price:  10,00 €
    Reduce rate:  7,00 €

    Twin ticket
    Full price:  12,00 €
    Reduce rate:  9,00 €

    Click here to see all rates

Around the event

Guided tours, workshops, concerts, etc.
all activities organized as part of the event

Around the event

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