National Museum of African Art marking 60th anniversary in 2024

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, in Washington DC impresses with the past year, continuing in its efforts to promote traditional and contemporary African arts since it was established in 1964.

The museum had a 50 percent increase in visits over the course of the year 2023, with over 6,000 people visiting on June 22 to celebrate Solstice Saturday and usher in the summer last year, setting a record number of visitors on a single day for the museum. 

Its collections include 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African art from both Sub-Saharan and North Africa, 300,000 photographs, and 50,000 library volumes. It was the first institution dedicated to African art in the United States and remains the largest collection.

In a brief statement from John K. Lapiana, the museum’s Interim Director, it was revealed that the institution was “created during the civil rights era to foster cross-cultural understanding through African art and first housed in a Capitol Hill townhouse once owned by Frederick Douglass, the National Museum of African Art is now a 21st century global museum with impact on and beyond the National Mall and Washington, D.C.” 

As part of its 2023 achievements, the museum announced and added new prominent exhibitions featuring “three of Africa’s most consequential artists,” according to Mr. Lapiana. 

It featured From the Deep: In the Wake of Drexciya with Ayana V. Jackson, which brings to life Ayana Jackson’s vision of a spiritual underwater world of powerful and resilient African women. By using her own body to send across her message, Jackson displayed the plight of an estimated two million captives who had been thrown overboard or jumped voluntarily into the ocean during the transatlantic slave trade.

It also featured Georges Adéagbo Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America. George Adéagbo considered the unfinished business of achieving equality in the US and the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. To encourage reflection on what Lincoln means to him, the artist mixes discovered things, personal belongings, and commissioned paintings with slips of paper on which he has written his views.

There was also, John Akomfrah: Five Murmurations. The videographer used this body of works as a response to the global pandemic, murder of George Floyd, and worldwide protests in support of Black Lives Matter. He used it as a visual essay of our current times.

The museum also hosted a full calendar of public events, from the annual Mimouna Festival 2023, a Moroccan interfaith tradition, themed “Teaching Africa Day,” where American K-12 teachers explore new ways to bring Africa into American classrooms. 

“And we are planning for an even more ambitious and exciting 2024! Beginning May 5, 2024, the Museum will celebrate its 60th anniversary. We share our collections, exhibitions, and programs across the United States and the world, in classrooms and on the internet, and with partners on the African continent and beyond,” said Mr. Lapiana in a year-end address to stakeholders. 

“We invite you to join us again as we bring the brilliance, joy, and insights of African art to audiences new and familiar in 2024,” concluded the address. To learn more about the admission free museum, visit for details and visit whenever possible.


Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Kindly support TheAfricanDream LLC by disabling your Adblocker. Thank you.