The Toledo Museum of Art has added five new works by leading-edge international artists to its collection, two of which are sculptures by El Anatsui and Yinka Shonibare.
Three of the works were purchased for TMA by The Apollo Society, a group of donors that generously supports the Museum through art acquisition. Objects are purchased annually using the group’s pooled funds.
Homeless Child 2, a life-sized mannequin by Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist, reflects upon helplessness and poverty by depicting a child struggling to balance suitcases on its weakened back. This is the Museum’s second acquisition of work by the artist, whose work can be found in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution.
A second life-sized mannequin, by South African artist Mary Sibande, lavishly clad in a khakicolored dress, Rubber Soul, Monument of Aspiration critiques traditional black and female roles through the depiction of Sibande’s alter-ego, the domestic maid Sophie. TMA is one of only three museums in the United States to own one of her works.
The video Wall of Sea by highly-regarded Japanese painter and film artist Takashi Ishida alternates between images of the ocean and Ishida’s own ocean drawing, painstakingly pulling changes the artist made over time into a seamless narrative. Ishida’s films have been shown in several international film festivals.
Two additional objects, When I Last Wrote to You about Africa… by El Anatsui and Made in Porto-Novo by Romuald Hazoumè, were purchased and donated to the Museum by Apollo Society members Scott and Margy Trumbull and Dorothy Price, respectively.
El Anatsui has been hailed as one of the most significant contemporary African artists. His recent retrospective When I Last Wrote to You about Africa took its name from the wooden, scroll-like wall hanging. The Ghanaian artist, working in Nigeria, is well-known for his bottle cap curtains and had an installation on view earlier this year at the University of Michigan Art Museum and at the Brooklyn Museum.
Hazoumè, an African artist from the Republic of Benin, is also internationally known and is gaining prominence in the United States. His oversized sculpture of musical instruments, Made in PortoNovo, evokes a four-person jazz band, complete with sound and crafted from used petrol cans.
This year’s selection theme of global contemporary art broadened The Apollo Society’s collecting range.
“One of the goals was to bring work into the collection by artists from areas of the world where the Museum had previously done little collecting,” said Amy Gilman, associate director of the Museum and curator of modern and contemporary art. “I’m delighted The Apollo Society responded so positively to all the works presented this year.”
The 57-member Apollo Society was founded 27 years ago and currently has the largest membership in its history. Those interested in learning how to join should contact Kathy Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or Larry Nichols at email@example.com.