Senenkunya: Many Voices, One Family

This ethnographic exhibition, on display through August 29, 2004, will provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore sub-Saharan Africa through its indigenous ethnic groups, cultures and customs, languages, habitats and lanscapes.

The exhibit, based on a sub-Saharan African village, includes fabrication of a "Hogon" house reserved for a village leader, a mosque, granaries, a hunter's hut, a "Tonguna" where male council members meet, a trading center and more. Throughout the village and introductory exhibits in Fawick Gallery, visitors can see an exptraordinary collection of African artifacts from the sub-Saharan reagion and beyond donated and on loan to the Museum. There are more than 30 African ethnic groups represented by the stunning artifacts, whic include carving, textiles, masks, musical instruments and spears.

The artifacts are placed strategically in the village setting, which is divided into object areas: Oral Tradition, Power and Status, Trade, Belief Systems, Environment, Village Life, Textile Arts and Urban Life. Maps, photographs, videos, interactive activities and text add to the depth of the presentations and information for visitors.A reproduction of a baobab tree and other African scenery welcome visitors into the Senenkunya experience. In the Power and Status area, the artifacts include items representing community, wealth and status. The Belief Systems section explores ancestor worship, divination and power objects. Islamic artifacts from the region and a three-dimensional facade of a mud mosque surrounded by sunshade canopies are found nearby. A large photo mural of cliff dwellings is included in this area.

In the center of the exhibition is Village Life. Eye-catching is a house with hand-painted African designs. It is large enough for adults and children to enter and explore. In front of the structure is a meal preparation area. On either side of the house are artifacts and text, which lend a deeper understanding about home life.

You can also see a reproduction of a termite mound, along with plants and mounted animals common to the region. Numerous topics associated with the environment are covered, from the importance of the Niger River to subsistence in the region.

The last area, Urban Life, focuses on modern sub-Saharan Africa and city life, including tourism and contemporary art.