Masks have been found in nearly every region of the world, from ancient times to the present. In an African community, the appearance of a mask or masks heralds an important social event.More Information
Figures in African art can be representations of human beings or spirits: It all depends on the purpose for which the figure was made, and this can be central to understanding cultural ideals.Read More
Personal objects can range from utilitarian items used to make everyday life easier, to objects that give prestige to the user and heighten an individual’s sense of identity.View More
Welcome to the online exhibition of the PLU African Art Collection.
Beginning in 1972 and continuing through 2011, Pacific Lutheran University has been the honored recipient of nearly 60 pieces of African art. The generous donors who made the PLU African Art Collection possible are Dr. J. Hans and Thelma Lehmann and Dr. Oliver E. and Pamela F. Cobb. Over the years a number of these objects have been on display in the Mortvedt Library, where a small exhibition space has been created in the stairwell leading to the third floor. The masks, figures and other objects that comprise the collection represent works from 16 countries and the creative output of artists from nearly 30 cultural traditions.
This online exhibition is the final project of 15 undergraduate students in an Introduction to Museum Studies workshop-class in Spring semester 2015. The research and writing for this project have been supplemented by the research of four other students who, between 2009 and 2011, volunteered to research particular pieces just for the joy of being able to examine them up close and learn from and about such works of art.
The project would not have been so successful without the support of Chris Albert in Marketing and Communications and Shaun Spurlock ’15; the superb photographic skills of John Froschauer and Jordan Hartman; Richard and Marcia Moe, who kindly shared their remembrances of the Lehmanns and the first gifts to the collection; Dr. Oliver and Pamela Cobb, for speaking about why they collect and donate; and the continued interest and cooperation of Fran Lane Rasmus, Holly Senn and Diane Harris of the Mortvedt Library.
– Neal W. Sobania, Ph.D.
Professor of History