“The Eric Edwards Collection” is of one of the largest collections of African art in the U.S. amassed by an African American, represents all 54 countries of Africa and spans over 4000 years of history.

One of the 50 artifacts on view: Buffalo Dance Helmet of the Bamileke peoples, Cameroon. Photo credit: Weeksville Heritage Center

An exhibition of rare artifacts is coming to Brooklyn. “From Africa To Weeksville: The Eric Edwards Collection” will be on view from July 12 through September 28, at the Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights. 

“From Africa To Weeksville: The Eric Edwards Collection” is one of the largest collections of African art in the United States amassed by an African American. The exhibition includes 50 artifacts from 17 countries on the African continent. Its narrative draws connections between the cultural practices of those countries and the people, both free and formerly enslaved, who built the community of historic Weeksville, one of first America’s free black communities.

“We’re honored to be in partnership with Eric for this exhibition,” says Rob Fields, Weeksville Heritage Center’s president and executive director. “We are constantly thinking about how to connect past to present in ways that are relevant and resonant for our community. Given the current tenor of the times, it’s hard to imagine few things more powerful and reaffirming than a black cultural institution hosting and highlighting African art that’s been collected and curated by someone in our community.”

Among the artifacts included in the exhibit are a 4,000-year-old royal woman granite bust from the Nubian empire; a bronze flute player illustrating the “Lost-Wax” method of casting created in Africa; ancient craftsmen’s tools utilized to create the art; shrine pieces from Gabon, the Congo and South Africa; drums of the Baga of Guinea and the Yangere of the Congo; as well as rare African and U.S. slave chains that document the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 

The Eric Edwards Collection is the result of over 48 years of Edwards’ work as a private collector. With over 2,500 artifacts, he has amassed one of the most important private collections of African art in the world. The collection represents all 54 countries of Africa and spans over 4000 years of history. 

“I am thrilled to bring a portion of my collection to such an important place of black history and meaning as Weeksville,” says Edwards. “In many ways, the collection encapsulates our experience and exhibits the qualities and untold skills that we brought to this country, all of which helped build the United States into the great country it is.”

The free opening reception will take place on Thursday, July 12, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Weeksville Heritage Center, located at 158 Buffalo Ave in Crown Heights. To RSVP go here.

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