September 6, 2013

African Masterpieces Exhibit at Skeppsholmen Caverns

I made an announcement earlier about the upcoming exhibition "African Masterpieces". But I recently attended a press showing of the exhibit, so I thought that I would write a new entry with my thoughts of the exhibition along with some pictures.
First of all, I am a fan of the venue... the Caverns (Bergrummet) on the island of Skeppsholmen. These man-made caverns once housed the Swedish naval command during WWII and are the perfect venue for these large world culture exhibitions as they add a sense of mystery and magic you don't get in a normal museum venue. This is the third such exhibition held here, following the Terracotta Warriors of X'ian and Inca Gold.
"African Masterpieces" is made up of stone, metal and terracotta sculptures (100+ pieces on display) by the people of Ife, located in modern-day Nigeria. These sculptures date back between the 12th and 16th centuries and give a wonderful view on the culture of the people of Ife... their religion, daily life and worldview. The sculptures are beautiful and the craftsmanship is amazing. Our guide pointed out that many people incorrectly assume that historic works of art in Africa consist of only wooden objects. I also found the exhibit fascinating as we are generally taught so little about African history and culture, as opposed to, say, European and Asian history. Plenty of information is provided in the exhibit (in Swedish & English), otherwise 45 minute long guided tours are available.
The exhibition opens tomorrow (September 7th) and runs until February 23rd, 2014. The Caverns are open every day during this period from 10am to 8pm. Entrance costs 150 SEK for adults and free for youth/children under the age of 19. Tickets can be purchased either online in advance or at the entrance. I would recommend pre-purchasing the tickets if you are planning on seeing the exhibit during peak hours (evenings & weekends), otherwise you should be fine purchasing tickets at the door. It is relatively easy to get to the Caverns from the Rival Hotel... either a beautiful 25 minute walk through Gamla Stan (old town) or else you can take the Djurgårds Ferry (just make sure you let them know on the ferry that you want to get off at Skeppsholmen).

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