Press release: Free lecture explores labeling of Senufo art

By | September 2, 2015
Unidentified artist, Helmet mask; wood; l: 40 1/2 inches; The Art Institute of Chicago, African and Amerindian Purchase Fund, 1963.842

Unidentified artist, Helmet mask; wood; l: 40 1/2 inches; The Art Institute of Chicago, African and Amerindian Purchase Fund, 1963.842

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 2, 2015Visitors to the Saint Louis Art Museum can gain insight into the scholarly labeling of West African art—and consider whether such terms are accurate or useful—at a free lecture on Sept. 17 titled Beyond the Picture Frame: A Refreshed Look at Arts Identified as Senufo.

The lecture complements Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa, the first major exhibition of West African art at the Saint Louis Art Museum in more than 15 years. The stunning collection of masks, figures and other objects reveals the amazing diversity of art that scholars and collectors typically label as Senufo. It is on view through Sept. 27

The exhibition also shatters the boundaries of the artistic body of work typically identified as Senufo, and calls into question the use and accuracy of that label for art from western Burkina Faso, northern Côte d’Ivoire and southern Mali. Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi will speak about these issues and explore the historical foundations for the term Senufo during the 6:30 pm lecture in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium.

Gagliardi is an assistant professor at Emory University and curatorial advisor of the exhibition. She also is principal investigator for Mapping Senufo, a collaborative digital initiative to study art, identity and knowledge of this dynamic West African region. Her book, Senufo Unbound, will be available for purchase prior to the lecture and a book signing will follow.

The lecture is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are in-person at the Museum’s Information Centers or through MetroTix, which charges a service fee of $3 per ticket.

CONTACT: Matthew Hathaway, 314.655.5493, matthew.hathaway@slam.org