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Minkisi, Art and Belief In West and Central Africa

Minkisi, Art and Belief In West and Central Africa

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  • Thu 31 Aug ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Fri 1 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sat 2 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sun 3 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Mon 4 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • View all sessions


Taupo Museum, 4 Story Place, Taupo


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission


Taupo Museum

A dramatic collection of statues and masks from nine African countries will be on display at Taupō Museum, challenging viewers’ ideas about art, belief, tradition and culture.

The exhibition, Minkisi – Art and Belief in West and Central Africa, belongs to collector Desmond Bovey and looks at the meaning of minkisi (also known as zinkisi or nkisi) - spirits or objects that a spirit inhabits.

Exhibitions officer Kerence Stephen said the items on display were spiritual objects laden with magical charms such as nails, bones and found objects. They projected authority and power, and could be as big as a real person, she said.

“This is certainly a stirring exhibition that gives the viewer a real insight into the African ethnic groups that have created them,” she said.

The artworks were created by a variety of ethnic groups from the Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the beginnings of the collection were inherited by Mr Bovey from his French father-in-law. Mr Bovey’s fascination with these works saw him make repeated trips to West Africa in a quest to understand the works and the belief systems that produced them while adding to the collection.

Ms Stephen said sculptures like these influenced the likes of Picasso and have a special place in art history.

“It is Desmond’s wish to share these objects with a wider audience and we are grateful to the Friends of the Taupō Museum and Creative Taupō for making this exhibition possible,” she said. “Feedback from other museums that have held the exhibition has been fantastic and many commented it was dramatic and powerful visual experience, and drew in a wide range of viewers.”

Minkisi runs from July 29 to September 4. Taupō Museum is open seven days from 10am to 4:30pm and is free to children and Taupō District residents with proof of address.

Minkisi - Collectors Talk - 3 September, 3:30pm.

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