Stellar Arts: Astronomy as Muse for African Artists

BY Imani M. Cheers  July 12, 2012 at 3:10 PM EST

From a gigantic rainbow serpent fashioned out of recycled jerry cans to a painting of girls dancing against a Milky Way backdrop, the exhibit “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts” examines how African artists through time have looked to the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars for inspiration.

Using more than 100 objects and interactive multimedia, the exhibit at the National Museum of African Art features both ancient and contemporary African art that has drawn on astronomy. You can view some of the work in this slide show:

“This exhibition, many years in the making, is part of the museum’s series focusing on African’s contributions to the history of knowledge—in this case, knowledge about the heavens and how this knowledge informs the creation of spectacular works of art,” said Christine Mullen Kreamer, deputy director and chief curator of the National Museum of African Art.

Hari Sreenivasan talked to Kreamer about some of the artwork behind the new exhibit, which runs through Dec. 9. Watch the interview with her in the video above.

This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown.