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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


An astonishing collection of African artwork collected during Britain's first anthropological surveys of early 20th-Century West Africa is on display for the very first time at MAA. The exhibition also features photogrphic portraits, archival materials and contemporary artistic responses from Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

In this politically and emotionally charge exhibition, the curators pose difficult questions about the nature of colonialism at the time and its legacies today.

[Re:] Entanglements: Colonial collections in decolonial times is the culmination of the AHRC-funded Museum Affordances project led by Professor Paul Basu at SOAS University of London alongside Dr George Agbo of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and involving multiple partnerships in West Africa, the UK and beyond.  The project seeks to re-engage with the ethnographic archive assembled by the University of Cambridge-educated colonial anthropologist, Northcote Whitridge Thomas (1868-1936) in Southern Nigeria and Sierra Lone between 1909 and 1915.

The 'Thomas Collection' includes masks, drums, carved wooden figures and staffs, pottery, textiles, charms, dolls, photographs, sound recordings, botanical specimens, published work and field notes.