||WCMA has been
committed to the presentation of African art since the 1980s, due
in part to the growing ethnic diversity of
the college’s student body and the increasing diversity of Williams’s
curriculum. New faculty members with expertise in various aspects of
African cultures have also prompted the museum to present interdisciplinary
and related programming of the highest quality.
Of the total number of objects in WCMA’s African collection, 20 percent
represent East African cultures; the balance is from West Africa. The works include
ceremonial vessels and furniture, articles of personal adornment, ritual and
helmet masks, fetish figures, dolls, marionettes, agricultural implements, textiles
from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and utilitarian objects. The geographic
areas represented are encompassed by the current-day nations of Mali, Côte
d’Ivoire, Zaire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Gabon, Benin, and Kenya.