Gifting African Art

Hello! We’re Reggie & Celeste Hodges, two former Peace Corps Volunteers who are donating West African art, textiles, and photos to museums. Here are a few stories that tell how we went from serving as Volunteers in Sierra Leone 50 years ago to donating our African art collection to museums today:

Current statuses of the donated artworks:

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University — The Nasher has accepted 27 pieces from our collection. The Wolof ngoni (guitar) is currently on display as part of the Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations exhibit.  All donated pieces are in the Nasher’s online catalog and can be seen here.

North Carolina Museum of Art — The NCMA recently accepted 12 pieces. Curator of African Art Amanda Maples conducted research in Sierra Leone so she’s familiar with Bundu Masks and Gongolis and is as happy as we are that the NCMA is giving these pieces a good home. The twelve artworks can be seen in the slideshow at the top of this page. Two of the pieces are currently exhibited: a Gongoli and a Bundu Mask named Navoh.

Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University — The Gregg recently accepted 41 textiles, carvings, and other items. The carvings will be displayed at some point. Textiles deteriorate in light so they will be kept in archival storage cabinets to be seen and handled only by textile students and researchers. Photos and descriptions of the selected items are available here and in Facebook posts: Krio dress, Kola gara cloth, Bundu Mask, Indigo gara cloth,

Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill — The Ackland has accepted two Bundu masks, which they have displayed in the museum, and they are interested in having more. Reggie recently joined the museum’s National Advisory Board and the acquisitions committee so we’re confident that the Ackland’s African Art collection will soon expand. The current items are shown here.

John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture at Duke University — We’re honored that the JHF asked to have our cultural images and we’ve committed to donating all of our African prints, slides, and negatives to the JHF archive. We’re early in the process of digitizing and culling the set of a couple thousand items, and we plan to make many of the digital versions publicly available online. See a sampler of the photos here.

Collage Dance Company — We’ve shared some African textiles with this youth African dance company which is based at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham. Their seamstress is making costumes with the fabrics, and we can’t wait to see the dancers perform in them!

Comments? Email us at reggieceleste@gmail.com