Masks and Altars: Selections from the Joan and Gordon Tobias Collection, will be presented in William Paterson University’s Cheng Library lobby display cases from April 5 to May 10.
This micro exhibition includes several objects from the Joan and Gordon Tobias Collection of African and Oceanic Art, which were donated to the University’s Ben Shahn Galleries in 1998.
Maggie Williams, associate professor of art history, developed the project for her Arts of Africaclass. Students chose a theme and developed wall descriptions for the exhibition as well as researched the history of the objects and created an exhibition design with proper context. The students chose to focus on two categories of objects: masks and altars. Many of the African sculptures observed in museums and galleries were designed to be worn as masks to appear in spiritually and/or socially significant performances involving dance, music and brightly colored costumes. Other objects, referred to as altars, were created with the intention of serving as sites of spiritual energy. These objects may be arranged in a meaningful display, accompanied by offerings and sacrifices designed to invite and praise natural and/or spiritual forces.The students’ exhibition of African art objects encourages viewers to learn more about the incredible complexity of the arts of Africa.
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470