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Writer: Bradley Paul
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Release: Immediate

Sculpture from Mali will be at UI Museum of Art Dec. 21 through May 11

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Humans and Animals in Malian Art," an exhibition of sculpture drawn primarily from the permanent collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art, will be on display from Dec. 21 through May 11 in the Stanley Galleries at the museum.

The exhibition will also feature several objects on loan from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and from private collections.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Patrick McNaughton, professor of art history at Indiana University, will present a lecture as part of the weekly Perspectives series at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in the museum.

The exhibition features work by the Bamana and the Dogon, Mali's two best known art-producing ethnic groups, as well as work by the Bobo and the Bozo, Malian groups less frequently represented in museum collections.

The exhibition also features terra-cotta sculpture from the Djenne region in northern Mali. Produced between the eighth and 17th centuries, these pieces offer the opportunity to see Malian art in significant historical depth.

All of the sculptures portray human or animal figures. The pieces range from the very naturalistic to the very abstract, reflecting an extraordinary variety of techniques even within the same ethnic group.

The sculptures, which are made from various materials including wood, iron, bronze and terra-cotta, are invested with mythological and allegorical meaning and reflect the social and spiritual values of their respective cultures. They therefore play instrumental roles in Malian religious and political traditions and are frequently used as teaching tools. They are also used for decoration and entertainment.

The collection features masks, figurative sculpture and functional objects that portray horses, dogs, snakes, birds, hyenas, and donkeys, as well as male and female human figures.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.