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Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas


The Museum's collection of art of the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, and North, Central, and South America comprises more than eleven thousand works of art of varied materials and types, representing diverse cultural traditions from as early as 3000 B.C.E. to the present. Highlights include decorative and ceremonial objects from the Court of Benin in Nigeria; sculpture from West and Central Africa; images of gods, ancestors, and spirits from New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Island Southeast Asia; and objects of gold, ceramic, and stone from the Precolumbian cultures of Mexico and Central and South America.

Now at the Met

A Stone Sphere from Costa Rica

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In June 2014 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named the "Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís" to its World Heritage List, the first cultural site from Costa Rica to make the list of global heritage sites. The team from the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, led by archaeologist Dr. Francisco Corrales Ulloa, nominated these sites as an "outstanding representation of the complex social, economic and political systems, as well as the refined cultural achievements, of chiefdom societies of the south Central American region during the pre-Columbian period a.d. 500–1500."

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Teen Blog

How Well Do You Know the Met?

Emma, Former High School Intern

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to some of the world's most respected art. People from all over the world come to see the collection and appreciate the history and stories that the works present. Think you know the Met's collection like a pro? Here's a game to test your knowledge and see just how much you know about the artists and their subjects.

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Now at the Met

Spectrum Spotlight: Yaëlle Biro

Lucy Redoglia, Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media; and Christopher Gorman, Assistant for Administration, Audience Development

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Brought to you by the Spectrum group, which encourages post-college audiences to experience the Met in new and unexpected ways, this post is the third installment of our "Spectrum Spotlight" series, which introduces some of the staff members who make the Museum such a special place.

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Now at the Met

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month at the Met

Donna Williams, Chief Audience Development Officer

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This month affords us the opportunity to reflect on the various achievements and traditions of so many of our neighbors, friends, and family members. The Metropolitan's permanent collection and current exhibitions offer a calm and reflective setting for appreciating the art from this part of the world.

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Now at the Met

What's New: Gallery 351

Yaëlle Biro, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014

At the entrance to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, in the gallery devoted to Ethiopian art (Gallery 351), an installation combines historical works from the Museum's collection with a series of related creations by a contemporary artist on loan from a private collection.

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Now at the Met

A Tribute to J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (1930–2014)

Giulia Paoletti, J. Clawson Mills Fellow, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On February 2, J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, one of the greatest African photographers of the twentieth century, passed away. Over a career that spanned more than fifty years, Ojeikere exhibited internationally in major venues such as the Venice Biennial, Tate Modern, Studio Museum in Harlem, Documenta, and Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, among others. He is represented in some of the most prestigious collections, including the Met's, which includes two photographs from his celebrated Hairstyles series.

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Of Note

Gallery Concert: Kakande Quartet Performs Music of the Mandé Empire

Ken Moore, Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge, Department of Musical Instruments

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014

On Wednesday, March 5, the Department of Musical Instruments will present a gallery concert featuring the Kakande Quartet, who will perform music from the Mandé Empire of West Africa. The ensemble is led by the renowned Guinean balofon player Famoro Dioubate. As a jali, or griot, Dioubate represents an eight-hundred-year lineage of musicians that serve as the primary storytellers and historians of their society.

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Teen Blog

An International Take on Textiles

Brooke, TAG Member; and Tiffany, TAG Member

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013

Though we tend to associate globalization with the modern, Western-dominated world of capital goods, in reality it began long ago with textiles. The current exhibition Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 is the first major exhibition to explore this international exchange of design ideas through the medium of textiles.

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Teen Blog

A Profusion of Blue and Yellow Feathers

Angeles, TAG Member; and Jill, TAG Member

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The panels on view in the exhibition Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru were created by the Wari peoples of southern Peru. Their makers hand-knotted blue and yellow macaw feathers one by one onto cotton and camelid hair using slipped overhand knots. The strings of feathers were then sewn in horizontal rows onto large cotton panels.

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Teen Blog

What Does One Do with a Wall Full of Feathers?

Sage, TAG Member

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Many questions surround the beautiful feather panels, created between about 600 and 1000 by the Wari peoples of Peru, that are currently on view in the exhibition Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru. The simplistic juxtapositions of color and painstaking care put into them tantalize the mind and make one wonder what purpose the panels served.

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