Mary Jo Arnoldi Dinner and Lecture
The Ciwara Masquerade: Performing Work, Memory and Identity in contemporary Mali
March 29, 2016/6:00 p.m. Dinner/7:00 p.m. Lecture/RSVP by March 24, 2017!
The Bamana are one of the oldest ethnic people in what is today the Republic of Mali. The Bamana maintain a culture that is deeply rooted in the spiritual tradition of performance. Masks representing male and female antelope are worn in Bamana masquerade performances to reinforce the importance of farming. Two rarely seen antelope masks are on view in honor of the museum’s 85th anniversary.
Mary Jo Arnoldi is the Curator of African cultures and the arts in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She has been conducting research in Mali since 1978 and has published widely on Malian arts. She was a co-curator for African Voices, the museum’s permanent exhibition which features the history and contemporary life of communities throughout Africa and the African Diaspora to the Americas. She also co-curated the Mali program “From Timbuktu to Washington DC” at the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. More recently she was the co-curator for the temporary exhibition, Mud Masons of Mali which is currently on view in the African Voices Focus Gallery and is a curator for the Objects of Wonder exhibition which opens at the National Museum of Natural History in March 2017.