African art is often set into motion by music and dance, and to a larger degree by investing movement into artistic images of all types. These images, when animated, are carried, danced or manipulated by human hands or worn as masks atop the head or on the face; thus they become performing objects or “puppets.” The art of puppetry is used in African life to enhance civic and religious activities rather than solely as an entertainment medium. Puppet theatre in some African groups uses the dramatic performances for instruction, in celebration of harvests, initiations or funerals, and as satiric commentaries on topics of concern in the community, individual misbehavior, or personal eccentricities. Learn more with this informative catalog from our 1982 exhibit: African Puppetry.
Curated By: Diane Kempler