A free exhibition showcasing a collection of rare and historical African artifacts which “represent the diaspora of the borough” has opened at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“Brooklyn Is Africa” is the first exhibit hosted by the new administration of Borough President Antonio Reynoso and it is being held in partnership with the Cultural Museum of African Art.

The artifacts on show are from CMAA Founder and Executive Director Eric Edwards’ collection. Edwards said the museum appreciated Reynoso’s commitment to the African contributions in the areas of art, culture, science, and history.

Eric Edwards at the opening reception for the Brooklyn is Africa exhibit. Photo: Antonio Reynoso/Flickr.

 “We look forward to elevating Brooklyn to a new awareness, commemorating the end of Black History Month and celebrating Woman’s History Month in March,” Edwards said.

“The goal of our exhibition at Brooklyn Borough Hall is to make the peoples of the diaspora cognizant of our contributions, value systems, which leads to righteousness and the protective care of our ancestors. The messages they are whispering through the artifacts leads to us giving nurture to all standing amongst us.”

Deputy Diana Richardson at the opening reception for the Brooklyn is Africa exhibit. Photo: Antonio Reynoso/Flickr.

The exhibit features three main themes: maternity, music, and awareness.

According to a press release, he maternity theme will honor women and birth, revered as a symbol of life and perpetuation of life in Africa, an important symbol in African ceremonies. The theme of music was one used in many ceremonies for initiation and to summon spirits, and used for communication within and between tribal groups.

The awareness theme showcases pieces used in ceremonial initiation for when young boys were transitioning from child to man and young girls from child to woman.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said he was honored his administration’s our first event open to the public featured pieces from the Eric Edwards collection, “someone who has dedicated his life to the preservation of this history right here in Brooklyn.”

BP Antonio Reynoso at the opening reception for the Brooklyn is Africa exhibit. Photo: Antonio Reynoso/Flickr.

“As home to the largest population of Africans in the United States, it is Brooklyn’s pride and obligation to celebrate this rich and diverse history that’s still omnipresent in our communities,” Reynoso said.

Edwards has spent more than 50 years amassing his collection of African artifacts, which include artifacts from all 54 countries on the African continent and date back more than 4,000 years of human history. In 2021, CMAA was awarded a grant by the New York State Assembly which will be used to create CMAA’s first public-facing museum at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The museum is slated to open its doors in July of 2022.

The “Brooklyn Is Africa” exhibition will be open to the public from 10:00am to 4:00pm between March 10 and March 21. Tickets can be reserved here. Walk-ins will be accepted between 1:00pm and 2:00pm on weekdays.


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