Perkins Foss, Ph. D.
This exhibition is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Note: This book will be published in April, 2004. Information on price and order for the book will be provided as soon as they are available.
WHERE GODS AND MORTALS MEET: Continuity and Renewal in Urhobo Art
Edited by Perkins Foss with Foreword by Peter Ekeh and contributions by G. G. Darah, Michael Y. Nabofa, Tanure Ojaide, Bruce Onobrakpeya, John Picton, and Appendices by Ikpama Aduri, Chief Oghenegweke.
This is the first major exhibition and catalogue devoted to the art and culture of the Urhobo people of the Niger River Delta in Nigeria. Dramatic works of art are presented both in western style as beautiful sculptures, and in their traditional context sited in recreated shrines, and in many field photographs. Art is used to present Urhobo society. Sections explain iphri, used to reinforce and control male aggression; masks and statues celebrating ideal female qualities, and then relations with spirits of the ancestors, of nature and of the waters. Art enables humans to maintain a positive relationship with all of these forces, so that an exhibition of Urhobo art also presents their religion, society, history and aesthetics. Finally, the works of celebrated contemporary artist Bruce Onobrakpeya—which interpret traditions from a present-day perspective—show how modern Urhobo artists are trying to make their traditions relevant in a new context.
This project is the fruit of more than 30 years of involvement in the art and life of the Urhobo by Professor Perkins Foss, but it has also benefited from intense involvement by many Urhobo artists, scholars, traditional chiefs and elders. It presents the Urhobo both as a trained western scholar sees them and also as they see themselves—from both outside and inside. Because of the pressure of modernization and environmental change in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the Urhobo have migrated to other parts of Nigeria, to Europe and to the United States. This catalogue has a special value to the members of the Urhobo diaspora as a permanent record of their traditions for their children and grandchildren as well as for the rest of the world. This is their show.
Perkins Foss began his study of the Urhobo in the 1960s, compiling a precious record and photographic archive of the area before the disruptions of the oil boom completely altered its society and economy. On frequent trips to the area, he has documented changes in art and society and maintained an extraordinary relationship to people in all walks of life. His ties to the Urhobo have resulted in the participation of the many people who give this project its exceptional authenticity. It represents a genuine Nigerian-American collaboration.
160 pp., 77 color catalogue objects, 71 color or black and white field photos and 2 maps.
Recent Exhibition Catalogues Published by the Museum for African Art
To Cure and Protect: Sickness and Health in African Art, February 1997.
Exhibition catalogue by Frank Herreman with a contribution by Bernard M. Wagner, M.D. Published and distributed by the Museum for African Art, New York, February 1977. 64 pp. Paper: ISBN 0-945802-22-6. LCCN: 98-67550.
African Faces, African Figures: The Arman Collection, September 1997.
Exhibition catalogue by Alain Nicolas, Jean-Hubert Martin, Jacques Kerchache, Monique Barbier-Mueller. Published and distributed by the Museum for African Art, New York, September 1997. 280 pp. Cloth: ISBN 0-945802-21-8, Paper: ISBN 0-945802-20-X. LCCN: 97-069790.
A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art, May 1999.
Exhibition catalogue by Bogumil Jewsiewicki with contributions from Dibwe dia Mwembu, Mary Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts, Nyunda ya Rubango, and Jean Omasombo Tshonda. Published by the Museum for African Art, New York, May 1999. 110 pp.
Paper: ISBN 0-945802-25-0. LCCN: 99-61072.
Facing the Mask, September 2002
Exhibition catalogue by Frank Herreman with essay by Babatunde Lawal. Published by the Museum for African Art, New York, September 2002. 72 pp. Paper only: ISBN 0-945802-33-1. LCCN 2002107633.
Recent Exhibition Catalogues Co-Published by the Museum for African Art
In the Presence of Spirits: Selections from the National Museum of Ethnology, Lisbon, September 2000.
Exhibition catalogue by Frank Herreman with contributions from Els Bruyninx, Elisabeth Cameron, William J. Dewey, Manuel Jordán, Danielle Gallois-Duquette, Gerhard Kubik, Wyatt McGaffey, Mary Nooter Roberts, Annemieke Van Damme. Published by the Museum for African Art and Snoeck-Ducaju, and Zoon, Ghent, September 2000. 196 pp.
English: Cloth: ISBN 0-945802-28-5, Paper: ISBN 0-945802-27-7. LCCN: 00-106199.
Portuguese: Cloth: ISBN 0-945802-30-7, Paper: ISBN 0-945802-29-3. LCCN: 00-106695.
Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali, September 2001
Exhibition catalogue by Jean-Paul Colleyn with contributions by Mary Jo Arnoldi, James T. Brink, Rene A. Bravmann, David C. Conrad, Kate Ezra, Barbara E. Frank, Salia Malé, Patrick McNaughton and field photographs by Catherine De Clippel. Published by the Museum for African Art and Snoeck-Ducaju, and Zoon, Ghent, September 2001. 262 pp. English: Cloth: ISBN 90-5349-359-X. Paper: ISBN 0-945802-32-3. LCCN 2001091515. German: Cloth: ISBN 90-5349-360-3. Paper: ISBN 3-907077-00-8.
Material Differences: Art and Identity in Africa, 2003
Exhibition catalogue edited by Frank Herreman with contributions by Herman Burssens, Michelle Chadeisson, Herbert M. Cole, William J. Dewey, Perkins Foss, Paula Ben-Amos Girshick, Manuel A. Jordán, Constantine Petridis, Christopher D. Roy, Jerome Vogel. Published by the Museum for African Art and Snoeck-Ducaju, and Zoon, Ghent, March 2003. 180 pp. Cloth: ISBN 90-5349-458-8. Paper: ISBN 0-945802-34-X. LCCN 2003103198.