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Studio Museum, Harlem, New York says:

Y, the Unknown Collection

The answer is clear: beauty, individuality, complexity and tradition define Unknown Collection. This season, the Studio Museum is proud to feature Unknown Collection, a wearable art collection organized by Christa Elise Sanders, representing the jewelry of local artisans from Eastern, Western and Southern Africa. 

Unknown Collection primarily focuses on silver, amber, antique pendants and amulets from Ethiopia; trade, glass and waist beads, jewelry derived from ebony, camel bone and coconut shell from Ghana. It includes silver work from the Tuareg people, Malian wedding beads, agate stone and amber necklaces and rings hail from Mali and Niger. Sometimes you may find bead work from South Africa and Tanzania.Inspired by the artistic productions of regional designers who often have little formal training, Sanders’ discovered her appreciation and passion for the visual arts of the African continent and began collecting in 1999 and Unknown Collection was officially launched October 2006.

A modern hybrid and fusion of tradition, the cutting-edge works of artists featured in Unknown Collection are predominantly known within their respective regions. Unknown Collection seeks to financially, socially, politically empower artisans of African descent by continuing to share their work with the larger world and donating a percentage of sales to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that support education, health and environmental initiatives within the Sub-Saharan region.   

Unknown Collection and Flow, this season’s exhibition, are thematically interconnected in their purpose to highlight a new “generation of international artists,” the “individuality and complexity” of the visual arts, artists of African descent, and the continent of Africa at large like strings of a necklace. Yet, as individual pearls, Unknown Collection and Flow stands on their own. Thereby, allowing the viewer to see each one in its totality and apart of a larger framework, and draw parallels as necessary. 

Flow into our Museum Store and experience the unknown with a piece that accents your individual and discerning taste. Sanders resides in Accra, Ghana, where she is Associate Director of the New York University in Ghana program stationed in Accra.


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