One of two display cases
Malawi sculpture “To Become a Man”
shows a youth’s initiation into adulthood.
Pierced plaster window screen
Playing Wari board game
African Heritage Classroom
The Window Wall:
Wari game, Display Case
In an Asante courtyard, steps lead to shallow rooms (patos) in which the family socializes, cooks, and sleeps. In the classroom, pato niches accommodate the display areas.
The cases contain an array of art and artifacts from the African continent. Masks, sculptures, a Koran, a Coptic prayer book and cross testify to the spiritual life, creative talent, and every-day aesthetics found throughout Africa.
Malawi sculpture. The Committee has received gifts from many African nations, among them a five-foot carving depicting the initiation of a young Chewa man into the male secret society. The carving was created by young students and was donated by the government of Malawi. As the room becomes known, other gifts will come and the ever-changing display will eventually represent the majority of African cultures.
Pierced plaster screens.
In Asante dwellings, expanses of pierced clay in geometric designs provide shade and ventilation. The classroom's window wall makes dramatic use of this unusual screen.
On the ledge to the right of the windows is a game popular throughout Africa. Played with grains or pebbles, the game is called wari by the Asantes, mankala in East Africa, Iela among the Kuba of Zaire. This game requires strategy to capture all of the opponent's pieces.