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Student guided tours through the permanent exhibition

May 8th – May 15th 2015

In cooperation with the Centre for Career Development (part of the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Philosophy), the Museum of African Art organizes a program for the final years students of Faculty of Philosophy.

With the support of curators/mentors, the participants in this student program gain knowledge of African Art and develop the skills and techniques for conducting guided tours of the permanent display, thus giving them a sound introduction into the curatorial profession.

The students worked diligently for two months tailoring their themes, creating both elaborate and interesting methods of presentation.

Program "Practicum" is created and led by MAA curators: Emilia Epštajn, anthropologist and Ivana Vojt, art historian.



Friday, May 8th at 6pm

The Birth of life – Symbols of Fertility among the Peoples of West Africa

ANA DAJIĆ, MA student of Ethnology and Anthropology

In Africa, fertility is one of the most respected cults. Primarily it refers to crops and the soil, however in a wider sense to human life in general. Africans, in their traditional setting, make objects by which they evoke the forces that will enable and ensure the continuity of life. The guided tour through the permanent display of the Museum of African Art will give you insight into the symbolism of fertility based on the examples of the Dogon, Bambara, Ashanti, Senufo, Dan and Gere peoples, and among other things, will offer answers to questions such as: what is calabash, what is an akuaba doll and what is kept behind the barn-door. Come and find out how these objects are related and how they are represented in the traditions of the mentioned people.


Saturday, May 9th at 5 pm

Nature and Cosmogony in the Sculpture of West African Peoples

MARKO RAKOČEVIĆ, student of Pedagogy

How did the peoples of West Africa communicate with nature? What was the role of intuition, imagination and mythological interpretation in that communication? In this guided tour you will find out how natural conditions surrounding the Dogon, Bambara and Senufo community affect their experience of reality, as well as their understanding of themselves and their place under the sun. You will learn how this understanding is expressed using the specific language of masks and sculpture that enabled them to establish their own kind of relationship with the natural environment. We will reveal what makes these three peoples similar to each other and what makes them unique and extraordinary!


Sunday, May 10th at 5 pm

The Man who Creates – the Role of the Artist/Craftsman in the Traditional West African Comunity

IVA KIJEVČANIN, student of Art History

The opinion that creators of African art are anonymous is wrong. Although these objects aren’t signed, behind every sculpture, every mask stands an artist, with his own style and reputation. The communities relationship towards artists differs from one ethnic group to the other. For example, an artist living among the Senufo people is separated from the rest of the community, while among the Dogon people, blacksmiths are the most respected. Why is this the case? Which materials are used by and which by women? What is the process of making an African sculpture? Come and discover the answers to these questions, while enjoying the objects from presented on the permanent display of the Museum of African Art. This guided tour will rethink our view of this distant art and the role of the artist that stands behind it.


Monday, May 11th at 6 pm

Anthropomorphic Motif On Permanent Display At Museum Of African Art

MARIJA MARIĆ, Undergraduate student in Art History

This presentation will present sculptural forms on figures and other artefacts by the Dogon, Bambara, Baule, Dan and Gere people. This guided tour will offer answers on questions about the history of the artefacts, their mythological and religious background, use, style and characteristics. The sculptures, masks, granary doors, ceramics, instruments and other West African artefacts offer an image of a less known tradition.


Tuesday, May 12th at 6 pm

Divine Dance - Religious motifs and elements in the religion of the Dogon, Bambara and Senufo

JOVANA TODIĆ, Classical Studies student

Let’s discover the world of mythology and rituals together. Let’s find out more about the secrets of rites and the importance of music, dance and masks. You will have the opportunity to learn about the stories behind the myths, legends, beliefs, traditional African religion and various rituals of the people of West Africa. Come and experience the Dogon view on the earliest history of the world. You will also find out the meaning behind the Senufo bird motif and the Bambara Chiwara mask. But that isn’t all, so come and join me in the guided tour through the Museum of African Art.


Wednesday, May 13th at 6 pm

Scarification, Hairstyles And Body Painting As Social Biography Of The Body

VENESA MUŠOVIĆ, MA student of Ethnology and Anthropology

Even the smallest bead on an African mask has social meaning. In traditional African societies body art was equally important for women and men. Scars on the body can protect individuals from evil spirits or connect them with magical beings and Gods. At the same time, it can be a symbol of ethnic identity, an expression of power, beauty, sexual attraction or fertility. Carefully decorated hair was also a symbol of power, beauty and often an essential element of collective and individual identities. This museum visit will give you answers concerning the essential human need to decorate the first object they ever owned – their body.


Thursday, May 14th at 6 pm

The Museum As Exhibit-Piece: The Historical Context Of The Museum Of African Art's Formation

DRAGANA BREBERINA, student of master history studies

Every museum tells a story through its exhibit pieces, sending a message to the observer that is for the most part a reflection of the ideals of a specific time. The Museum of African Art was created under the ideology of non-alignment and therefore held an important political role as well. What was this role exactly and the Museum’s function? Who were Zdravko and Veda Pеčаr the collectors to whom we are indebted for creating this museum’s collections? You will find out the answers to these and other questions by participating in the guided tour which focuses not particularly on the displayed objects themselves, but on the way they are presented, based on the approach of interpreting the Museum as an exhibited piece in itself.


Friday, May 15th at 6 pm

Secret Knowledge

FILIP ŠAPIĆ, student in History

One of the greatest secrets in traditional African cultures was certain knowledge available only to a select group of people. This knowledge was passed on following very strict rules. This guided tour through the permanent display of the Museum of African Art will afford you the privilege of acquiring knowledge that was reserved to only a select few within the community. Therefore, come visit the Museum and learn about myths, legends, and the history of African peoples, such as the Senufo, Ashanti, Dogon and Fon. You will not only have the chance to hear about oral tradition, but also the role of music, dance, masks, sculptures, and textiles in creating their distinguishing cultures. Come and learn about the “secret knowledge” that was the privilege of only a select few who through their status guaranteed that it would be passed on to coming generations.

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