The Art of African Ivory

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 10:00am to Sunday, April 12, 2020 - 4:30pm

African Gallery

28 April 2018–12 April 2020

Africans have traded raw and carved ivory for centuries. Its lustrous sheen makes it desirable, as does the brute majesty of its source: Africa is home to the world’s largest elephants. Across continents, ivory objects are used in rituals—rites of prestige and pageantry rolled into one. Desired by a range of bodies—political, social, medicinal, religious—ivory sparks discussion of history and debates about ecological and wild-life preservation.

This exhibition showcases works donated by Justin and Elisabeth Lang. Visitors will discover how Africans have used ivory to teach morality, convey social standing, heal wounds, safeguard communities and commercially profit.


Dr Shannen Hill is Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and President of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. She is author of Biko’s Ghost: The Iconography of Black Consciousness (2015) and a former Fellow of the J. Paul Getty Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution.

Link to exhibition webpage:

Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 36 University Avenue, Kingston ON
Geographical location: 
  • Kingston
  • The Great Waterway
  • Tourism Kingston
  • Ontario Heritage Trust