Under Different Moons: African Art in Conversation shares—for the first time in print—the UBC Museum of Anthropology’s extensive collection of brilliant objects from dozens of African cultures, gathered over nearly a century. These include masks from the Baule peoples of Côte d’Ivoire, the Bijogos people of Guinea Bissau, and the Dogon peoples from Mali; three Bamana / Bozo puppet sets from Mali and Burkina Faso, with floats, cloth awnings and related animal masks; and Benin panels and castings, Makonde sculpture, and Yoruba thorn carvings that will make their public debut in the exhibition that this book accompanies.
Throughout the book are beautiful photos of over 100 objects from the collection, as well as a dozen photos of contemporary artworks by Nigerian and Nigerian-Canadian artists. The first part of this book, by Anthony Alan Shelton, draws on an expansive ethnographic literature to contextualize MOA’s collection within seven themes that reoccur in a wide number of societies across the African continent as well as in areas of Brazil and the Caribbean. In the second part, Titilope Salami focuses on contemporary Nigerian and diasporic artists to show the continued relevance of ritual practices in Nigerian artworks. And in the third part, Nuno Porto examines specific items in MOA’s collection to reveal the social, historical, and market networks in which they once circulated and the changing significances ascribed them.
Under Different Moons is part of a wider attempt to bring to public attention, especially that of African and diasporic Canadian communities, parts of an important cultural legacy, safeguarded in museums across the country, that can help empower new sectors and generations of citizens and widen the breadth and understanding of Canada’s multi- and intercultural character.