African Ceramics at LongHouse: 2,500 Years of Clay

Over the years, Jack Lenor Larsen played a seminal role in bringing the long-neglected world of non-Western art to LongHouse. The clay vessels and figures on exhibit in the Summer Pavilion pay tribute to his connoisseurship; characterizing all aspects of life and punctuating important events, from hearth to shrine.

Meet Douglas Dawson, proprietor of the Douglas Dawson Gallery in Chicago, Illinois and curator of the exhibition. Specializing in ancient and historic non-Western art and a devotee of Mr. Larsen, Dawson holds as clients, major museums and discriminating collectors throughout the United Sates and Europe.

His appreciation of and desire to preserve this ethnographic heritage have been his life’s work. Says Dawson, “This exhibition of approximately 30 objects spans the geographic and historic breadth of the African continent. Elegant and ancient slip-decorated bottles from the inland Niger River Delta contrast with massive storage vessels decorated with patterns found on the scarified bellies of the Burkina Faso women who made them. Enigmatic shrine altars from Togo and blackware pots made by Zulu women, speak fluently to the 21st Century eye. All project important social values.”

As our world becomes more automated, the necessity for preserving these artifacts and the ancient traditions they represent becomes more and more critical. LongHouse is honored to showcase this collection.