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Rare African Art Up For ‘Adoption’ at Missouri State University

Rare #African art owned by the Missouri State University in America will go up for adoption this month through August. The show is expected to feature a mixture of objects that have been displayed previously, along with several artefacts not shown to the public in the past 20 years.



Rare African art owned by the Missouri State University in America will go up for adoption this month through August.

According to the University, a special VIP viewing of select objects from Missouri Southern’s African art collection will be featured at the Spiva Art Gallery on the MSSU campus from Monday, July 24, through Friday, Aug. 4.

Patrons are expected to “adopt” an African art piece for donations of $20, $50, $100 or more. Donors will then have their names featured in archives and in the Past Perfect online database, which houses a digital collection of all the pieces owned by the university.

All proceeds will go to continuing preservation efforts in maintaining the collection.


According to Joplinglobe, Money raised is expected to support the care, preservation and research into pieces such as the Chokwe female dance mask, made of wood, or the “Oathtaker” from the Republic of Congo. Nails driven into the wooden figure signal to participants in the ritual that if an oath is broken, the spirit of the oath taker would exact punishment.

The Oathtaker, one of the pieces to be displayed at the Gallery. Credit: Missouri Southern State University

Many of the pieces are believed to have been originally created and used in African rituals.

The collections also includes headrests for the dead, musical instruments, vessels and weapons such as arrows from Kalahari Bushmen.

The exhibition will feature key objects from the Finley Collection, a collection comprising mostly 19th and early 20th century pieces given to the university in 1997 by John and Pam Finley. Other objects are from known and anonymous donors. A reception will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 25. The public is invited to attend.

The gallery is open to the public at no charge from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday throughout the summer.