Made in Africa: Portrait of an Ife Ruler

Made in Africa: Portrait of an Ife Ruler is now open in the Living Cultures gallery. The exhibition makes a stunning intervention in the gallery and highlights the remarkable royal portrait-like cast in all it’s splendor.

Royal portrait-like cast, 12th-14th century AD. British Museum loan. Photo: Steve Devine

The head is accompanied by other pieces of Yoruba sculpture from the Living Cultures collection and a stunning cast by the contemporary artisit Taslim Martin.

Portrait of Dr. Raimi Gbadamosi by artist Taslim Martin, 2009. Photo: Steve Devine.

As the exhibition will only be with us until very early February 2010 I highly recommend that you come and see it sooner rather than later!

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures


3 thoughts on “Made in Africa: Portrait of an Ife Ruler

  1. I have a keen interest in Yoruba culture in general and sculpture in particular so I was looking forward to seeing this piece on display and happened to be in Manchester earlier this week but I almost wish I hadn’t bothered.

    The dim lighting and reflections made it very difficult indeed to see anything and I actually felt like I had seen the head better here on this blog, it is a shame these items are not so well lit in your museum itself.

    Your gallery staff were very helpful but were unable to tell me why exactly the lighting conditions are so bad.
    Please can you enlighten me?


    • Hi Jim

      I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed about the way the Ife sculpture is lit, I agree it is quite dark. This is because there is some paint work around the crown that is extremely light sensitive. This means we have to keep the light levels low otherwise the paint work will fade.

      I hope you agree that it is important to enjoy these objects today whilst preserving them for the future.


      Stephen Booth
      Curator of temporary Exhibitions

  2. Hi Jim

    Thanks for your valuable feedback. It’s always important for visitors to share their thoughts with us so we can continue to improve their experience.

    With regards the lighting in the gallery I can’t with any degree of certainty explain why it is as it is, but I’ll ask the designer of the exhibition Stephen Booth to respond.

    Watch this space!

    Stephen Terence Welsh

    Curator of Living Cultures

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