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Release: Immediate


PERSPECTIVES FEB. 11 -- Allen Roberts, a University of Iowa professor of anthropology, will give a lecture and gallery tour of the UI Museum of Art's recently acquired collection of sub-Saharan African staffs at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the museum.

The presentation, which is part of the museum's weekly Perspectives series, will be open to the public free of charge.

The collection contains 92 of the elaborately carved objects and offers a glimpse of the importance of staffs and scepters throughout the African continent. The objects on display represent a wide variety of uses, from staffs that indicate political prestige or wealth to those symbolizing religious proverbs. The collection includes objects from all areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Roberts said, "Staffs are used in many different contexts in African culture. They can be important politically or economically, they can be used as tools of healing, they can indicate status, or they can be used for many other purposes."

Many of the staffs were previously displayed in the museum's 1994 exhibition "Staffs of Life: Rods, Staffs, Scepters and Wands from the Coudron Collection of African Art." The objects were donated to the museum's permanent collection in 1996 by Al and Margaret Coudron of Ypsilanti, Mich., in recognition of the efforts of the late Mary Kujawski Roberts, who as director of the Museum of Art supervised the 1994 exhibition and the accompanying book, "Staffs of Life," edited by Allen Roberts. The UI Museum of Art was one of three museums to receive art objects from the Coudron collection.

Objects from the collection are currently on display in the Stanley II Gallery of the museum.

M.C. Ginsberg Jewelers, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for the 1997-98 Perspectives series at the UI Museum of Art, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday the day of Roberts' talk. Admission is free.