Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa
Shaping Power features Luba masterworks from the Democratic Republic of the Congo on loan from the Royal Museum for Central Africa and rarely seen outside of Belgium. Figurative thrones, elegant scepters, and ancestral figures actively contributed to the formation and expansion of a highly influential Luba state from the 18th to early 20th centuries. The exhibition includes a kneeling female figure holding a bowl by the celebrated artist known as the Buli Master, as well as the Royal Museum’s most iconic mask recalling the Luba culture hero—on loan for the first time ever. Shaping Power presents the richness and complexity of Luba arts, and lends insight into a world renowned African aesthetic and cultural legacy. A contemporary installation entitled Congo: Shadow of the Shadow (2005) by Aimé Mpane, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, presents a gripping commentary on re-shaping power during the colonial period using the play of light and shadow, substance and ethereality. In addition, a bead-laden Luba memory device from a private collection suggests how the past is continually re-imagined through the eyes of the present.
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Please Note: On Friday, September 27th the exhibition will be closed to the public at 5:30 pm.
Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa marks the inauguration of a gallery and educational program dedicated to the arts of Africa at LACMA. This exhibition was co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Royal Museum for Central Africa and was supported in part by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium.
Image: Mask, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luba Peoples, wood, The Royal Museum for Central Africa. Collection RMCA Tervuren; photo R. Asselberghs, RMCA Tervuren ©.
Is it possible that an African American can view the exhibition Shaping Power:Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa without a tinge of discord and disconnect; or are we to be washed over, teary eyed, and spellbound in awe of this immense beauty that is before us…
African art has come to LACMA as yet another of the museum’s bold new initiatives. It is an honor to assist in launching a program and guiding the creation of a dedicated gallery for the arts of Africa in order to give African art a more permanent and prominent presence at the museum and in Southern California, beginning with the new exhibition Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa…