First, there was light. Then, a night sky filled with stars and a luminescent moon. Soon after? Art.
Since ancient times, communities have used art to relay stories and make sense of the world around them — particularly when interpreting the heavens and giving form to perceived deities ruling the forces of nature.
A new exhibition at the
On view is a 4,000-year-old Egyptian Middle Kingdom star clock, carved onto a wooden coffin lid, that marks star patterns. There's a wooden divination board, made by the Yoruba people of Nigeria in the late 19th or 20th century, that was used to connect with the spirit world. A gold "soul washer's disc," more than 100 years old, was made by an Asante artist from Ghana in West Africa and worn by members of the royal court to protect the king and by extension, the nation.
Not all of the works in the show are old: A 2009 video projection by Karel Nel of South Africa incorporates data from a project in which he worked with more than 100 astrophysicists around the world. Called a "cosmic evolution survey," it maps a square patch of the sky south of the constellation Leo.
The exhibition originated at the
'African Cosmos: Stellar Arts'
When: Through Nov. 30. Closed Wednesdays.