African Art Exhibit Showcased at Duncanville Juneteenth Pop-Up Gallery

African art collection
Patrick and Jacqueline Harvey Collection

Art lovers are being treated to a dazzling exhibit of African art at Duncanville’s Juneteenth Pop-Up Gallery now through June 23. Located in the lobby of the Duncanville Public Library, the art exhibit also includes works by local artists, and opened with a reception for the community June 17.

The Juneteenth Pop-Up Gallery is on display through June 23, with the following schedule: June 19, from 12 noon to 8 p.m.; June 20, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; June 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; June 22, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; June 23, 12 noon-4 p.m.

Jacqueline Harvey and Patrick Harvey African Art Collection

Juneteenth showcase
Jacqueline Harvey photo by Holt

Pieces from the Jacqueline Harvey and Patrick Harvey extensive collection of over 300 works of African art catch visitors’ eyes immediately upon entering the library lobby. Those attending the June 17 reception were able to learn more about the collection from Jacqueline Harvey, who said her first piece was a beautiful Nefertiti carving she bought at auction in 1982.

A longtime teacher and gifted presenter, she explained to viewers that all African art is functional as well as decorative—each piece has a purpose. Africa is the second largest continent on earth, with 250 countries. The Harvey Collection pieces on display this week are from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Malawi.

Patrick Harvey
Patrick Harvey with Ebony story-telling stool

Two intricately carved ebony sculptures from Malawi that bookend the exhibit are used as storyteller stools, where the oldest and wisest person in the village sits. They tell the tribal history to younger members (one of whom will eventually become the storyteller).

Juneteenth pop-up gallery
Jacqueline Harvey with Messenger Mask

The messenger mask is a very important mask, carried by a messenger who runs to relay a crucial message from one royal leader to another. The objects on display cover many different phases of life, starting with fertility dolls given to females at the age of nine.

At the age of 12, boys take part in a ceremony to prepare them to be men, wearing heavy symbolic pieces on both shoulders. After dancing until they drop, they’re officially ready for circumcision and manhood.

African art exhibit
Jacqueline Harvey with boys rite of passage shoulder piece

Juneteenth Pop-Up Gallery

One of the Harvey Collection’s most fascinating pieces is also one of the less attractive–even somewhat scary-looking–pieces. The contract doll is used to seal trade agreements, such as one villager trading chickens for goats and putting a nail into the doll to seal the contract. Jacqueline Harvey explains this sometimes led foreigners to suspect contract dolls were voodoo statues, while they were simply a record of legal transactions.

Jacqueline Harvey and Patrick Harvey collection
Holt photo

Some of the loveliest and most useful items in the collection are the intricately woven fans, the mud cloth, and the tribal plaids similar to those worn by Scottish clans. Jacqueline and Patrick Harvey were also garbed in gorgeous traditional garments from Kenya and Nigeria. Death masks are made in the image of the deceased person, who’s seated at burial to greet the gods.

African art exhibit
Burial mask

Other Juneteenth events included a Children’s Reading Hour with Dr. Anne Perry, Sharron Davis, and Sarah Koontz at the Hopkins Senior Center, and an Open House & Tour with Harold Banks, art collector and curator at Annie Earl’s Art, Gift & Framing Gallery in the Lone Star Building. A celebration of Juneteenth through film was held in the Duncanville Public Library Conference Room from 6-8 p.m. Wed. On June 21, an Open House & Tour with Harold Banks at the Lone Star Building, 210 S. Main Street, is from 3-5 p.m.

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