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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 10, 2004

UI Africa Photos On Exhibit At Iowa African American Museum

A collection of photos of the Bono people of Ghana archived at the University of Iowa Libraries will be displayed as part of an exhibit of Bono life at the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa in Cedar Rapids.

The exhibit, "Iowa in Ghana: Dr. D. Michael Warren and the Bono of Takyiman," will be on display from Sept. 17 through March 10, 2005. A reception marking the opening of the exhibit will be Thursday, Sept. 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the museum, 55 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Kofi Sakyi Sarpong, an herbalist, cultural historian and resident of Takyiman, will speak at 6 p.m.

The exhibit is based on the photography of Warren, who started working with the Bono in 1964 as a Peace Corps science teacher. Over the next three decades, he became deeply involved in documenting aspects of Bono indigenous knowledge and promoting the economic development of the Takyiman Traditional Area. He also received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Indiana University for his dissertation on Bono religion and medicine.

Warren became a professor of anthropology at Iowa State University from 1972 until his death in 1997. His widow, Mary, and daughter, Medina, donated his photos to the UI Libraries following his death. Supported by a grant from the U.S. State Department, the UI Libraries is digitizing about 2,000 slides from the collection. About 130 prints prepared from digitized slides will be on display in this exhibit along with contemporary cultural artifacts. Thematic concerns of the exhibit include religion, medicine, chieftancy, commerce and contemporary social life. 

On Saturday, Sept. 18, several UI students will participate in a Ghanaian festival celebrating the first anniversary of the museum's opening. The UI Ghanaian Students Association will demonstrate native drumming and dancing at 11 a.m. Kofi Sakyi Sarpong will speak at 11:30 on traditional healing, and African food can be purchased from noon to 3 p.m.

For more information contact Edward Miner at, Victoria Rovine at or Susan Kuecker at

The exhibit preparation was a joint effort of the University of Iowa Libraries and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa. This exhibit was made possible by a $180,000 grant obtained by UI International Programs from the Colleges and Universities Affiliation Program of the U.S. Department of State to develop a linkage between the University of Iowa and University of Ghana, Legon. The relationship between UI and the University of Ghana began in 1965 when Geography Professor Michael McNulty researched his dissertation on Ghanaian urban structure and development. Programming in support of the exhibit is funded by a grant from Humanities Iowa. Funding was also provided by a grant from Humanities Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,