The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum reaches into its archives of donated artwork and artifacts to create its latest exhibit, “Local Treasures of African History,” which is currently on display through April 2013. The exhibit will close with a special presentation by Sam X, the Gourd Master (www.thegourdmastersamx.com)
The objects in “Local Treasures” represent regions primarily from sub-Saharan West Africa and southeast Africa, which should be viewed not only as visual works of art, but also as required components of sacred and secular ceremonies, celebrations and tributes tied to the natural and supernatural cycles of life.
“We have provided a few hints about how the objects function with music, dance, performance and rituals through published documentary photographs,”
“Local Treasures” features pieces such as a carved wood divination bowl from the Congo, tribal masks and carved figurines. Taken as a whole, the exhibit ties the artistry and craftsmanship of Africa to the appreciation and cultural ties of South Florida. For example, a wire basket composed of wire and plastic thread from the Zulu of South Africa, was gifted from the estate of Delray Beach resident Maria Nhambu Bergh. The Zulu people are the largest tribe in South Africa and are renowned for their mastery of basket weaving. Most baskets were woven out of the Ilala palm, but nowadays wire, plastic and nylon threads are also used. The featured bowl is decorative and was created to sell to tourists.
Bergh has traveled extensively and has a significant collection of artwork and artifacts, reflecting her understanding of the people and regions she has visited, which she shares locally through her support of the Spady Museum.
“So much of our archives is a capsulized history of the area, the state and the culture,” said Museum Director Charlene Jones. “We have been fortunate to become the keeper of many memories, and we are excited to share them with the public.”
About Spady Cultural Heritage Museum:
The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is the only museum of its kind in Palm Beach County. Located at 170 NW Fifth Avenue in Delray Beach, it is dedicated to showcasing the African-, Haitian- and Caribbean-American cultural contributions to the artistic landscape of Florida and the U.S. The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is a proud sponsor of specific museum activities, including exhibits and lectures. The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and The Auburn Group are also proud sponsors of selected museum programs. Hours: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday-Friday;