The Italian Almanac

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african art

Italian News / Art - March 3

A fascinating new exhibition in Rome seeks to give visitors a glimpse of African art and culture and buck some stereotypes in the process. The show, entitled "Segni e simboli: i linguaggi nelle tradizioni africane" (Signs and symbols: languages in African traditions), opens at the city's Biblioteca Angelica on March 6.

It is made up of over 100 beautiful objects that are decorated with signs, symbols and gestures stemming from the continent's rich oral tradition. "Delving into their oral tradition means knowing about how and with what symbols they wrote on objects, and how they viewed words," say organizers from the Kel Lam association.

The show features painted wooden objects, decorated masks, metal ornaments, textiles, ceramics, statues, utensils and various other pieces. They are presented alongside a series of panels that list the cultures of origin and explain the meanings of the designs.

Organizers hope the exhibition will help combat the reductive picture of Africa that emerges from the media, which tend to portray it solely as a place of war, poverty and starvation.