Exhibit Runs from February 28 – December 16, 2023, and kicks off with formal event 7 p.m. Monday, Feb.27
A new series of exhibitions begins at the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Meek-Eaton Black Archives (MEBA) Research Center and Museum Monday, February 27, with “Field Spirits of the Fante.”
Ten original sculptures carved by Lobi craftsmen will go on display, giving insight into daily life, spirituality, and agricultural practices of Ghana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The exhibition launches a new series on Land, the Environment, and the African Diaspora presented by the center in partnership with the new Lola Hampton Frank Pinder Center for Agroecology and the FAMU African American Studies Department.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to present these amazing sculptures to the Tallahassee community and beyond,” said MEBA Director and exhibit curator Timothy A. Barber. “On arriving at FAMU in July 2022, I was immediately drawn to the craftsmanship of the Lobi artisans who created these sculptures from 1870s – 1940s. Each sculpture presents a different outlook on life in the fields of Ghana at the dawn of the emergence of a colonial society in Africa.”
The Field Spirit sculptures date to approximately 1870-1940 and offer a glimpse into the influence of colonial oversight. They were crafted by Lobi craftsmen, who were known to be skilled, imaginative, and non-Christian, with the purpose of protecting women and children, homes, crops, domestic animals, and hunters. They also acted as a warning to those considering venturing into protected lands and homes or stealing from the property owner.
While there is rich documentation of the cultural and political history of the Fante, little is written about how their spiritual worldview intersected with their traditional lives, including agricultural practices. These objects represent their beliefs and reflect the subtle shifts in cultural norms brought about by the imposition of political and social change.
The collection was donated to the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum in 2019 by the estate of the late Professor Nana Apt, a lifelong collector of African art and cultural objects. The estate of Marian Sylvia Horowitz of Ann Arbor, Michigan, endowed the collection. Richard Douglass, Ph.D., author of the accompanying book “Field Spirits of the Fante,” secured, restored, and preserved the donation.
A Private Opening Reception of the Exhibition will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, February 27, 2023, at The Meek-Eaton Black Archives Museum. All Black Chic Formal is recommended. To attend, you must register: RSVP: www.fieldspirits.eventbrite.com
What: Field Spirits of the Fante
When: February 28 – December 16, 2023
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 5. p.m.
Price: Free Admission
Where: Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum
445 Robert and Trudie Perkins Way,Tallahassee
About the Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum
The Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum (MEBA) collects and preserves African American history and culture in the Southeastern United States to support research and public education. A statewide facility, the Black Archives are home to one of the largest repositories relating to African American history and culture in the Southeast and is one of 10 Black archives in the country. MEBA is located in Carnegie Library, the oldest brick building on the campus of Florida A&M University. The center was founded in 1976 by history professor Dr. James N. Eaton. It is named for Eaton and the late Congresswoman Carrie Meek. The center’s holdings consist of more than 500,000 individual archival records and more than 5,000 individual museum artifacts. More than 160,000 people visit the center annually or are educated through the Archives’ numerous outreach programs.