Beyond Wood: Works from the Collection of Rhonda Morgan Wilkerson ’86 (PhD)

August 10, 2022 - July 30, 2023

A sculpture of a head made of terracotta

Since 2018, the Ackland has exhibited five long-term installations of works from Rhonda Wilkerson’s distinguished collection of African art. These have focused on an individual artist, on types of objects, and on specific functions.  This presentation takes a different approach by highlighting a variety of materials, ones that differ from the wood of masks and figurative sculptures, more conventional works of art that have long been favored in museum displays of the arts of Africa. In contrast, the objects in Beyond Wood are made with materials associated more with utilitarian uses: glass, metal, and clay. They include a diviner’s beaded necklace of the Yoruba culture (present-day Nigeria), an ornamental knife of the Konda culture (present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo) and two terracotta portrait heads from the Akan culture (present-day Ghana).

This installation has been organized by Michael Baird, 2022 Joan and Robert Huntley Scholar at the Ackland, and PhD student in art history