Grassi Leipzig Ethnography Museum: MINKISI – Sculptures from Lower Congo

As the wind blew the first snow of winter from the roof of the Grassi Museum complex, the  Grassi Leipzig Ethnography Museum presented a first view of its major winter exhibition.

An exhibition that takes the visitor far away from the monotone chill of the European winter

Curated by Dr Christine Seige “MINKISI – Sculptures from Lower Congo” offers a unparalleled view into an African cultural tradition that although at first glance appears far removed from our own existence – is in reality much closer to home: The Minkisi’s role in encouraging good fortune and protecting individuals and communities is something that we can all relate to. And indeed, from time to time, need.

The first thing that strikes you in the exhibition is the size of many of the exhibits; its not all 10cm high wood carvings.
And the second thing is the brutality in many of the works. Not brutal as in violent, but brutal as in uncompromising, unrelenting, unforgiving. These are no cute folk art artifacts of the sort an Alexander Girard might collect. Minkisi mean business.
Something that makes them fascinating to observe.

In addition to a unique collection of Minkisi, the exhibition also presents the former Kingdom of Loango from where they originate in its cultural and historical context.

A feature which of course not only helps you better understand the Minkisi, but also helps you forget the snow driving against the museum’s outer walls.

MINKISI – Sculptures from Lower Congo can be viewed at the Grassi Leipzig Ethnography Museum until June 2nd 2013.

In addition to the exhibition the museum have organised an extensive fringe programme. Full details can be found at:

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