Caravans of Gold
Exhibition opens Jan. 26 at The Block
An ambitious new exhibition will showcase the splendor and power of the lost kingdoms and commercial centers of Africa, using centuries-old artifacts from sites around the Sahara Desert and artwork from West and North Africa, Europe and the Middle East that reveal the reach of Saharan networks, in a first-of-its-kind show that will open in January.
The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University’s “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa” will debut at the Block Jan. 26 through July 21, 2019, before traveling to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto (Sept. 21 2019-Feb. 23, 2020) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. (April 8-Nov. 29, 2020).
Presenting more than 250 artworks and fragments spanning five centuries and a vast geographic expanse, the exhibition features loans from partner museums and institutions in Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, including many items which have never been presented in the United States.
RSVP by Jan. 23 for Jan. 25 event
Curator Kathleen Berzock and exhibition spokespersons will be available for questions and on-camera interviews.
- Location: The Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston, Illinois
- Date/ time: Friday, Jan. 25, 2p.m. to 4p.m.
2p.m.-2:30p.m. - Welcome and introduction; refreshments will be served
2:30p.m.-4p.m. - Tour the exhibition
- Parking: Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Road (parking vouchers available on request)
Media also are invited to the Jan. 26 Opening Day Celebration. RSVP online.
- Images of exhibition art, excavation sites, maps of trade routes and more.
- Video soundbites from the curator and other research partners and b-roll of fragments and excavation sites in Africa.
- Case study examples of exhibit's curatorial approach, which juxtaposes fragments and rare treasures to highlight Africa's global reach.
- Exhibition catalogue - essays by scholars from diverse disciplines create a rich portrait of medieval trans-Saharan exchange and its legacy.
To receive a press copy of the book, email Stephanie Kulke or Erin Karter.
- Educational resources examining the themes of the exhibition.
- Scientists prove gold purifying process used in medieval West Africa works - May 9
- Archaeologists gather at Northwestern to share latest discoveries about medieval Saharan Africa - March 12
- The Block Museum celebrates January 26th opening of 'Caravans of Gold' - Dec. 17
- Medieval Africa as a cultural force is subject of major exhibition at Block Museum - Oct. 15
- Block Museum receives $350,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in support of touring exhibition 'Caravans of Gold' - Aug. 10
Meet the experts
- Kathleen Bickford Berzock is the exhibition curator and associate director of curatorial affairs at The Block Museum.
- Lisa Corrin, The Block Museum Ellen Phillips Katz Director, can speak about importance of the exhibition both in terms of The Block’s mission and the audiences this exhibition will speak to.
The planning, presenting, and research associated with Caravans of Gold includes many individuals working internationally. A list of the principle individuals involved with the project and other experts in fields including African art, archaeology, comparative literature, and history who have agreed to comment to the media is available upon request.