Variations on a Theme: Three "Olumeye" by Olowe of Ise

Begin Date2005-09-18
End Date2006-01-15
CuratorsRoslyn A. Walker
Last Harvested At2022-10-29
Credit LineThe exhibition is made possible by The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., the National Museum of African Art, the Walt Disney-Paul Tishman Collection of African Art, and the collection of Jane and John Pemberton III. The exhibition is supported by the Dallas Museum of Art League. Air transportation provided by American Airlines.
LocationFocus Gallery II
OrganizerDallas Museum of Art
DescriptionVariations on a Theme: Three 'Olumeye' by Olowe of Ise explores the innovativeness and genius in the art of Olowe of Ise (c.1875 - 1938), an African artist and tradition-based sculptor to Yoruba kings in Nigeria, and challenges the widely held belief that African art is anonymous. The exhibition will feature the Museum's recent acquisition, a kneeling female figure with bowl, called an 'olumeye.' The piece was created by Olowe, recognized as one of the greatest Yoruba artists, who were themselves known as the most prolific artisans in Africa. Theorizing that Olowe redesigned the 'olumeye,' possibly creating an entirely new form, the exhibition compares the Dallas Museum of Art's sculpture to one carved by another Yoruba master, Agbonbiofe of Efon-Alaaye, that represents the conventional approach. Olowe revisited his own design and carved two more 'olumeye,' also included in the exhibition, which show his own variations on the traditional style. African artists were far from anonymous in their own culture, though today traditional African art pieces are identified simply by the related art style or the name of the regional or ethnic group to which they belonged. Variations on a Theme demonstrates these artists' astonishing technical skill in sculpture, their unique style of carving, and Olowe's individual interpretation of Yoruba art. Variations on a Theme: Three 'Olumeye' by Olowe of Ise was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art.