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Traditions & Encounters: Art of Africa, Oceania & Native North America

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Sears Ross tji wara (mother and child)

2002
47 x 26 x 7 3/4 in. (119.4 x 66 x 19.7 cm)

Willie Cole
American

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Bicycle parts
Credit Line: Maurice R. and Maxine B. Forman Fund
Accession Number: 2006.40
Location: Currently on view
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Willie Cole’s work explores areas of overlap and intersection among African, American and African American cultures. Cole makes his art from the reused detritus (otherwise known as garbage) of contemporary life. In this sculpture of old bicycle parts, the artist reinterprets the tji wara (also spelled chi wara) masks of the Bamana people of Mali (like MAG's accession number 93.14).

With real-time communication, social networking and economic globalization, the internet of the 21st century fosters seamless and near-constant encounters across time and cultures. By Africanizing or ritualizing common western objects, Cole embraces and examines these encounters as he comments upon contemporary society.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

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