The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) did it again. There’s a reason that this museum is heralded as world class. I had the opportunity to enjoy a walk through of The Met some years ago when a friend of mine was living in the city. As a historian, the antiquities captivated me. I was able to stand next to a section of an Egyptian tomb and see with my naked eye, the hieroglyphics I had only previously read about. I was in my late 20s to boot, which meant that I was more fully aware of what I was looking at. I wanted to linger, but we had limited time. Getting there again is a goal of mine.
To see The Met still putting out interesting exhibits that illuminate our history and the artistic endeavors of the world, diversity of peoples—it just makes that goal all that more important. As I perused some of the photographs in The Huffington Post article on the exhibition, I was not only enamored with the beauty of the people in them, but of the historical facts that can be gleaned from inside them:
“taken in the 1910s or 1920s, an nameless woman from Senegal stares defiantly into the camera, her hands placed gently on her stomach as if to signal she’s pregnant. Her gaze is haloed by a traditional hairstyle, woven together with black wool as was the style in West Africa at the time, and punctuated by an array of carefully placed jewelry…The photograph, snapped by an artist as anonymous as the picture’s star…”
Not only is my love of the historical and nostalgic pinged by this body of work, but my researcher is as well. Thanks to the efforts of curators, we can know more about the people and cultures depicted in them. The great thing is that they stretch through 100 years of West African history. Is this something that you might be writing about? Check out the article below.