February 9, 2011

On View

Carlos Museum exhibits capture the imagination

Mythological monsters and mischievous spirits — the stuff of dreams and nightmares — are among the objects that capture the imagination in the Carlos Museum's two new exhibitions.

Admission is free to Emory faculty, staff and students.

Griffin Protome

Griffin Protome

"Monsters, Demons and Winged-Beasts: Composite Creatures of the Ancient World," Through June 19

"Monsters, Demons and Winged-Beasts: Composite Creatures of the Ancient World" explores a rich array of myth, legend and high adventure, from Pegasus the winged horse to a fire-snorting lion with a serpent's tail.

These images are shown on more than 150 objects, including cylinder seals, vases, decorated armor and more.    

Explains Curator Jasper Gaunt: "It's an exhibition that tries to tell a story, with a certain amount of humor. What are these creatures, and where are they from?"

"Monsters" focuses on the ways in which the Greeks borrowed imagery from Egypt and the ancient Near East, and developed a vast repertoire of richly-imagined creatures that proliferated the Greco-Roman world.

Drawn from the permanent collections of the Carlos Museum and loans from private collections, the exhibition illustrates the ways in which these creatures have appeared through millennia, and how their significance changed over time.

Twin Memorial Figure (ebe ibeji)

Twin Memorial Figure (ebe ibeji)

"Divine Intervention: African Art & Religion," Through Dec. 4

"Divine Intervention: African Art and Religion" illustrates the traditional African belief that works of art function as a bridge between the human and divine worlds.

Over 50 works from more than 20 African cultures are featured, ranging from masks to shrines, body adornments and divining instruments.

The works in "Divine Intervention" illustrate the active nature of African art, where the works of art themselves are agents of communication between the divine and earthly realms.

"The goal of the exhibition was to really understand why these objects were created and how they bring into this world an image of an invisible divine being," says Curator Jessica Stephenson.

Highlights include the mischievous nature spirit Mami Wata; figurines called bocio that are the ancestors of what became known in popular culture as voodoo dolls; and a hunter's jacket from Mali, covered with the talons and claws of jungle beasts, amulets and mirrors, items imbued with ritual potency believed to protect and empower the wearer.

"Divine Intervention" also explores the presence of Islam and Christianity in Africa, and their intersections with other African religions.

The exhibition is drawn from the Carlos Museum's rich collection of African art. Of note is a series of metal sculptures used to honor the ancestral dead, called Asen, from the collection of recently-retired Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts professor Edna Bay.

Educational programming

Learn more about African art or the monsters of the ancient world in the museum's related educational programming. Visit the Carlos Museum calendar for lectures, performances, studio workshops and more for all ages.

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