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Caravans of Gold - Exhibition Press

Media coverage of the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa running at The Block Museum of Art January 22, 2019 to July 21, 2019.

The Medieval Review
Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time is a monumental achievement. The creative originality of African material culture and ideas sits at the core of most of the chapters. For as the Block's director Lisa Corrin writes, the contributors wished to reveal the "far-reaching and lasting impact of intercultural relations developed in Africa"... This is a wonderful, interdisciplinary compendium that beautifully explores the medieval Saharan world and its peripheries. ”
Myles Osborne, March 2021
The Art Bulletin
The great strength of Caravans is its presentation of thresholds of possibility, which plants questions in the viewer’s mind: what did it mean that the ivory and gold used in the most sumptuous and important artworks in western Europe came from Africa? ”
Risham Majeed, February 2021
London Review of Books
"Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa, a timely, scholarly exhibition with an ambitious catalogue, doesn’t simply redraw the boundaries of what constituted the medieval world, but argues for West Africa’s central importance in the complex systems of trade, exchange and interaction between Asia and Europe. "”
Lloyd de Beer, February 4, 2021
African Studies Quarterly
Caravans of Gold is a treasure. The diversity and quality of the archaeological evidence unearthed, displayed, and discussed show that medieval trans-Saharan exchange played a key role in connecting West Africa, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, foreshadowing the globalism of today.”
Steven Gish, October 2019
African Archaeological Review
This book deserves to be a coffee table book: it will hopefully appeal widely. At the same time, the book offers the latest scholarship on the important topic of trans-Saharan trade. It contains material which even many specialists may not know, all of it superbly presented; and several chapters will certainly make excellent set reading material for undergraduate and graduate courses. The editor and authors are to be congratulated for producing such an impressive book.”
Anne Haour, January 2020
Speculum
This is a glorious book: thoughtfully organized, powerfully researched, lavishly illustrated, and handsomely produced....it was breathtaking for this newcomer to medieval African art history to glimpse Europe and the Mediterranean from a distance, with cities like Sijilmasa at the center of the world, not the periphery. If we are ever to unlearn the distorted narratives of the nineteenth century and replace them with an inclusive, expansive view of the Middle Ages, Europeanists in particular must commit to the hard work of discarding colonialist models that were widely accepted not so very long ago. Thankfully, we now have the advantage of doing so with this splendid book as an inspiration and a guide.”
Shrin Fozi, October 2020
Medievalists.net
The groundbreaking touring exhibition “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time” can now be accessed through a new free app. ”
July 2020
Burlington Magazine
"This project is an unprecedented achievement, and is especially important at a time when a better understanding of Africa’s contribution to global history is necessary."”
Mariam Rosser-Owen, July 2020
Apollo Magazine
"With a full tour of the exhibition through text and images, and analysis of key objects, the Block Museum’s new digital platform – a web browser application, optimised for mobile but also available on desktop, which can be downloaded for use offline – provides a streamlined way of exploring the display"”
June 19, 2020
How Stuff Works
Berzock says that a larger-than-life figure like Mansa Musa highlights the central and influential role of sub-Saharan Africa in medieval global trade, a story often overshadowed by what came after it: centuries of transatlantic slave trade and European colonialism. "We want to reshape how African history is taught and to reinvest it with the true agency and the true import it deserves," says Berzock. Her exhibit, "Caravans of Gold," is set to open at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in 2020 at a date to be determined. ”
Dave Roos, May 18, 2020
Smithsonian Magazine
The first major exhibition exploring the scope of the Saharan trade and shared history of West Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe over five centuries centers on the element that fueled much of the action—gold. ”
Roger Catlin, February 6, 2020
New Books Network
Not your typical exhibition catalogue, Caravans of Gold is a selection of chapters that reach across academic fields and genres of writing, seeking to evoke the exhibition’s central themes, including cultural movement, archaeological fragments, and global connection. We talk to the exhibition’s curator and the publications’s editor, Kathleen Bickford Berzock, about this expansive project. The conversation ranges from the exhibition’s conception, how the catalogue was designed in relation to it, and best practices associated with building a project like this one.”
Nadirah Mansour, December 23, 2019
Chicago Tribune
Far more ambitious than what you typically find in even the best university museums, this Northwestern museum exhibition told the story of the richest man ever to walk the Earth, the 14th-century Mali king Mansa Musa, and of a rich African culture largely written out of history. Ancient pottery fragments, fully realized metal works and early maps and money helped tell an extraordinary, corrective story.”
Steve Johnson, December 18, 2019
Hyperallergic
The exhibition was carefully well researched, collaborative, and timely in making the ambitious claim that the medieval epoch should not primarily be envisioned through a European lens, but instead can be more fully understood by seeing the African continent as the fulcrum of worldwide development by it impelling cultural advance, and socioeconomic change. Through an exhaustive assembly of fragments and artifacts, supported by reams of scholarship (including the story of the richest man who ever lived) one sees that the 14th-century trade routes that crossed the Sahara Desert drove the movement of people, goods, and culture in that epoch. Museums should take on these kinds of insightful historical correctives more often. ”
Seph Rodney, December 12, 2019
La Vanguardia (Spain)
Tal vez el secreto para alcanzar la riqueza más grande de la historia sea conseguir que se vuelva imposible de calcular. Kathleen Bickford Berzock es la comisaria de la muestra Caravanas de oro, fragmentos en el tiempo: arte, cultura e intercambio en el África sahariana medieval del Museo Block de la Universidad Northwestern de Chicago, en la que la figura de Mansa Musa ocupa un lugar protagonista. En conversación con La Vanguardia, explica que “Mansa Musa controlaba un imperio en el que había múltiples fuentes de oro. Hay crónicas que aseguran que por cada pepita de oro extraída, se tenía que dar otra de igual peso al rey”
Abril Phillips, December 21, 2019
Wall Street Journal
The best museums and exhibitions ask us to rethink what we think we know. “Caravans of Gold, Fragments of Time” (Block Museum/Princeton, 311 pages, $65), edited by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, reconsiders the story of the medieval West by shifting the viewpoint substantially south, to the Sahara. Artifacts in ivory, copper, glass and gold, from human figures to drinking vessels, register the interactions between cultures on both sides of the Sahara.”
Cammy Brothers, November 22, 2019
College Art Association Reviews
“…From this point forward, any new medieval or ancient African art history course has no excuse for ignoring, marginalizing, or diminishing the material and cultural sophistication of the trans-Saharan trade...With an astute curatorial eye, Caravans of Gold guided the viewer to connect the dots between fragment and whole, and destroyed preconceptions about where the center lies, both physically and metaphorically.””
Elizabeth Perrill, October 2019
Omenka Magazine
"My job, as curator, has been to aggregate, organise, filter, and shape the story into one that is comprehensible in the form of an exhibition. One of the most exciting aspects of the project has been to work with archaeologists and institutions in Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria who are excavating sites and preserving their countries’ cultural heritages. ”
Interview with Oliver Enwonwu and Oyindamola Olaniyan, July 11, 2019
Chicago Sun Times
In town to give the commencement address at Northwestern University, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch visited a one-of-a-kind exhibit here through July 21 at the Block Museum of Art. “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa” showcases 250 artworks and fragments on loan from Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, many previously unseen. Bunch was guided by Curator Kathleen Berzock.”
Maudlyne Ihejirika, June 23, 2019
Northwestern Now
Lonnie Bunch was on a tight schedule while in town to deliver Northwestern University’s commencement address. But the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution made time to view a groundbreaking exhibition at The Block Museum of Art — which will travel next year to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.”
Stephanie Kulke, June 20, 2019
Forbes
This collaborative research between archaeology and materials sciences confirms that the medieval Islamic goldsmiths of Tadmekka had not only found a way to work around the authorities by issuing unmarked dinars, but that they had also discovered an ingenious way to make the most out the gold deposits available to them.”
David Anderson, June 18, 2019
OkayAfrica
There are many institutions all over Africa that have the capability to preserve, and—more importantly—teach with these objects. A few examples I can think of which all lent objects to the current iteration of the traveling exhibition Caravans of Gold on view at the Block Museum at Northwestern University are the Nigerian National Museum, the National Museum of Mali and others. ”
Damola Durosomo, June 10, 2019
The New York Review of Books
Part of the difficulty in conveying the importance of this region’s history has been its paucity of documentation, and the exhibition and its catalog make up for this spectacularly with their display of the region’s legacy of artifacts, from pottery shards to sculpture and gold weights and coins.”
Howard W. French, June 27, 2019 issue
Futurity
Now, materials scientists at Northwestern University have experimentally replicated the medieval gold purification method that Nixon and Rehren outlined in a 2014 paper using the same material resources and found the process works incredibly well. The unusual method involves heating a mixture of gold, sand, and glass to high temperatures and separating out the gold.”
June 2, 2019
New City
This exhibition is a landmark attempt to show the sophistication of medieval African art and to place the cultures of Saharan Africa in dialogue with medieval Europe. (I don’t mean to exaggerate its importance; medievalist colleagues quizzed me about the show when I traveled to Germany and the Czech Republic earlier this year, and essays from the catalogue have already appeared on syllabi around the globe.) A wide range of objects, from archaeological debris to astoundingly complex sculpture, persuasively shows that Saharan Africa bustled with creative and commercial energy. ”
Luke Filder, May 28, 2019
Phys Org
Two of the molds used to produce gold coins in Tadmekka and three replica coins made of wax are included in Berzock's groundbreaking exhibition, "Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa," currently at The Block Museum through July 21. The show on the movement of things, people and ideas across the Sahara Desert in the medieval period aims to change public perception of Africa's role in the global economy in the 8th to 16th centuries.”
May 10, 2019
Atlas Obscura
WHEN SAM NIXON, AN ARCHAEOLOGIST with the British Museum, excavated ancient coin molds in Tadmekka, Mali, in 2005, it triggered a several-year exploration of how medieval Africans purified the gold they were using for their currency. Nixon had found little droplets of highly refined gold left over in the molds—which have been dated to the 11th century—as well as curious fragments of glass. Now scientists have recreated the advanced process behind the purification method they used then.”
Evan Nicole Brown, May 9, 2019
IFL Science!
Together with Professor Thilo Rehren, a specialist in ancient technologies, Nixon published a paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science setting out how the Tadmekkans may have heated gold, sand, and glass to “Separate panned gold particles from mineral contamination...by melting the gold and floating the mineral particles off in a light slag melt.” In this way, they achieved purity contemporary civilizations could only match with mercury.”
May 9, 2019
Art Daily
Now a team of Northwestern University materials scientists have experimentally replicated the medieval gold purification method outlined by Nixon and Rehren in a 2014 paper using the same material resources and found the process works incredibly well. The unusual method involves heating a mixture of gold, sand and glass to high temperatures and separating out the gold. ”
May 9, 2019
L'Orient-Le Jour
Selon la curatrice Kathleen Bickford Berzock, spécialiste de l’art africain au Block Museum of Art de la Northwestern University, « le legs des échanges transsahariens médiévaux a été largement omis par les récits historiques et artistiques occidentaux, de même que par les musées. Et l’exposition “Les Caravanes de l’or”, qui a nécessité huit ans de préparation, veut rectifier cette conception erronée et démontrer le rôle pivot de l’Afrique dans l’histoire du monde, particulièrement à travers 250 œuvres d’art provenant de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, notamment le Mali, le Maroc et le Niger ». L’un de ces trésors est l’Atlas catalan, réalisé en 1375, que l’on attribue au cartographe Cresques Abraham, et qui dépeint la vaste route de commerce traversant le Sahara. Son centre est illustré par le portrait de Mansa Musa.”
Irene Mosalli, May 3, 2019
Popular Archaeology
Central to Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time, the past is also made tangible by the rare fragmented remains excavated from key archaeological sites that were once thriving cities and towns involved in Saharan commerce. These scattered bits and pieces are difficult to understand or to assign intrinsic value to. And yet, because they are simultaneously of the past and in the present, such archaeological fragments bring us as close to the past as we can ever hope to be.”
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, April 10, 2019
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
As the exhibition’s title suggests, many of the objects in it are fragments. Much of the archaeological record from this period has unfortunately not survived time. Pieces of decorative glazed ceramics attest to the thriving commerce of ancient towns; a fragment of a 15th-century woven blanket from Mali—among the oldest surviving textiles from West Africa—speaks to the origins of contemporary African weaving patterns.”
Elaine Pasquini, April 2019
Art & Object
Caravans of Gold urges us to think of the medieval world as not just filled with knights and horses in armor but also of veiled nomads and their camels, burdened with riches.”
Claire Voon, April 8, 2019
Medievalists.net
The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University will host a week-long gathering of six archaeologists from Mali, Morocco, the U.K. and the U.S., working at the cutting-edge of research on medieval Africa.”
April 2, 2019
Art in America
'Caravans of Gold' tells stories of exchange and of beauty, bringing African artisans, travelers, and tradespeople into the role usually occupied in our culture by heroic knights of medieval fiction. It replaces a vision of the Sahara as an empty space with the truth of the Sahara as a venue for movement and the generation of wealth. It replaces the blank spots in our historical vision with the simple fact of African people’s existence in and relevance to the medieval world. If this is the only lesson visitors take away with them from the Block out into the contemporary world and every museum they visit afterward, it will have been enough.”
Josephine Livingstone, April 1 2019
BBC News
'As the ruler, Mansa Musa had almost unlimited access to the most highly valued source of wealth in the medieval world,' Kathleen Bickford Berzock, who specializes in African art at the Block Museum of Art at the Northwestern University, told the BBC.”
Naima Mohamud, March 10, 2019
Hyperallergic
Even more, [Caravans of Gold] subtly raises up the entire African continent, which becomes through this retelling, a force of profound socioeconomic change at the global level. As their handout highlights: 'Journey to a medieval world with Africa at its center.'”
Seph Rodney, March 15, 2019
New Art Examiner
When the doors open into the entrance, light washes away a video projection of scenes from the Sahara. As the door closes, the scenes emerge again, putting the viewer in a desert setting at sunrise. The action is metaphorical and speaks to the theme of fragmentation and the fragility of things that have eroded over time.”
Rebecca Memoli, March 2019
The Lumanary
Included in this exhibition are eight items from LUMA's permanent collection: three textiles, two ivory pieces, two manuscripts and one painting. These pieces were chosen to represent the importance of global trade in the creation of art.”
Allie Huff, March 2019
Streetwise
The exhibit contains an unprecedented number of loans from the national collections of Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, never before seen in the United States.”
Suzanne Hanney, March 2019
Christies
A thought-provoking and insightful introduction to early globalism, revealing how Africa’s ancient history continues to be relevant today.”
February 08, 2019
Planes and Plates - Blog
Visitors are able to somewhat grasp how impactful the Sahara was, as a center in the midst of the medieval world that goes from Asia to Europe and down to Nigeria, emphasizing how interconnected it all was.”
S. Crawford, February 09, 2019
Yabiladi (Morocco)
L’Afrique n’est pas qu’un seul et même pays, de surcroît corrompu, arriéré et malade, comme le véhiculent nombre de récits occidentaux. C’est au contraire l’image d’une Afrique riche et influente que veut montrer l’exposition qui se tient actuellement au Block Museum of Art.”
February 09, 2019
Medieval Institute - University of Notre Dame
"A new exhibition at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University aims to shine a light on Africa’s significant connections to and influence on the economy and material culture of the world—centuries before the calamitous brutality of imperialism and the transatlantic slave trade."”
Megan J. Hall, February 06, 2019
Reader
Fueled by a desire for fine gold and salt, merchants across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East traversed the Sahara, home to several powerful African kingdoms, interacting with the people and experiencing the culture as they purchased their goods. ”
Lee Ann Norman, February 07, 2019
Mental Floss
Despite his status during his life, many people today have never heard of Mansa Musa. "Caravans of Gold" aims to combat modern perceptions of a poor Africa by highlighting the affluence of medieval West Africa in a major museum exhibit for the first time.”
Michele Debczak, February 07, 2019
Pioneer Press - Evanston Review
“I think these objects are the best ambassadors, even across time and across geography, for Africa, as a way of us understanding another place,” said historian Gus Casely-Hayford, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art and a broadcaster.”
Karie Angell Luc, February 04, 2019
North by Northwestern
Reflecting on the exhibition, I can’t help but think about the refrain of “Harmony Hall”: “I don’t want to live like this, but I don’t want to die.” It seems applicable to Caravans of Gold, which breathed new life into artifacts and a story that otherwise might’ve died.”
Justin Curto, February 04, 2019
Smithsonian.org
“Caravans of Gold,” which has been eight years in the making, pushes back against misconceptions, and demonstrates Africa’s “pivotal role” in world history through 250 artworks and fragments from West African nations, including Mali, Morocco and Niger. ”
Jason Daley, February 05, 2019
Live Science
Who is the richest person to ever have lived? Put down that Forbes Magazine — it's not Jeff Bezos. The real answer is in the pages of a Medieval manuscript, The Catalan Atlas. Centered on a page of trade routes sits a West African king holding a golden coin: Mansa Musa, the wealthiest person probably ever to walk the globe.”
Stephanie Pappas, January 31, 2019
WTTW
The cultural power of medieval Africa is the subject of the exhibition at the Block Museum of Art on the campus of Northwestern.”
Marc Vitali, January 30, 2019
Northwestern Now
Chris Abani, professor of English at Northwestern, who was born near Igbo in Nigeria, described his experience seeing the medieval bronze sculptures in “Caravans of Gold” that he never saw while growing up, and how it manifested as an awareness of what had been missing. “I was literally in tears to see something so close that shapes my lineage,” Abani said.”
Stephanie Kulke, January 29, 2019
Art Daily Online
American literary scholar and cultural critic Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS series “Africa’s Great Civilizations,” said The Block Museum exhibition is significant and timely. “This is a project that cannot be pigeon-holed as an ‘African exhibition,’” Gates said. “It reaches across boundaries and challenges conventional ideas about Africa, Islam and Medieval. ”
January 29, 2019
Le Monde
"L’idée directrice derrière cette exposition était qu’au Moyen Age, l’Afrique, et en particulier l’Afrique de l’Ouest, jouait un rôle absolument essentiel pour mettre en contact des régions qui allaient de l’Europe au Moyen-Orient", explique la commissaire d’exposition Kathleen Berzock.”
January 28, 2019
The Daily Mail (UK)
The objects tell a pre-slavery, pre-colonial narrative largely left out of history books and school classrooms, organizers said.”
January 26, 2019
Daily Times (Pakistan)
The idea of medieval Africa as “being the center of intellectual excellence,” paid for by world-wide connections and wealth, “is really important for people to understand,” said the Smithsonian’s African Art museum director Augustus Casely-Hayford.”
January 27, 2019
North by Northwestern
From performances to making art to walking through the exhibit and reading historical texts, the opening celebration for Caravans of Gold provided an opportunity for anyone to learn more about the under-acknowledged history of West Africa.”
Karen Reyes, January 26, 2019
WDCB The Arts Section
The exhibit aims to change perceptions about medieval Africa.”
Gary Zidek, January 24, 2019
Apollo Magazine
‘Caravans of Gold’ starts with the acceptance of the incomplete legacy of history and affirms the value and the affective impact of being in the presence of materials that have survived from the past, no matter how fragmented.”
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, January 25, 2019
The Daily Northwestern
Berzock, who is the associate director of curatorial affairs at the Block, said, “Now I’ve committed seven years to doing that. This exhibition shows that history requires active imagination. There are facts, but we also need to see that through mind’s eye. That’s what art and archeology contribute.””
Daisy Conant, January 25, 2019
WBEZ
Berzock joins us to explain how the exhibit ultimately came together, and her novel curatorial approach pairing archaeological artifacts with equivalent artworks in Western museums.”
Jerome McDonell, January 25, 2019
Apollo Magazine
This exhibition places medieval Africa at the centre of a global trade network, and explores through some 250 objects how art and ideas, as well as gold, travelled across the Sahara.”
January 17, 2019
The Art Newspaper
New show highlights how the world's largest desert was a major trade route during the Medieval era.”
Jason Foumberg, January 14, 2019
New City
An ambitious exhibition of material culture from Medieval Africa revives a forgotten history of the continent’s prosperity and cultural wealth that had been elided by Eurocentricism.”
Elliot Reichart, January 2, 2019
Chicago Tribune
“It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions,” said Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs and exhibition curator of “Caravans of Gold.” The exhibition is on track to open Jan. 26 with the loans from the Smithsonian, said Corrin and Berzock.”
Morgan Greene and Elvia Malagon, January 17, 2019
Chicago Magazine
It’s rare for American art museums to work with African lenders, because the institutional structures are so different from our own. Caravans of Gold stretches across regions and fields of study, and the loans required multiple visits to Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria.”
Jason Foumberg, January 22, 2019
Big Ten Network
With items on loan from partner institutions in Morocco, Mali and Nigeria, Caravans of Gold draws on exciting new archaeological discoveries that are deepening understanding of how religion, culture and commerce intermingled in the region...They stand beside European works from the same period, drawing visitors into an exploration of the vibrancy of life across Western and Northern Africa.”
John Tolley, January 22, 2019
Artsy
“Caravans of Gold” is the first exhibition in recent memory to apply a wide lens to the pre-colonial period of African civilizations and their impact to effectively challenge what we think we know about the world. ”
Niama Safia Sand, January 21, 2019
Atlas Obscura
“One of the things we find most exciting about this project is when you’re in the presence of objects from the past, what a powerful experience that is,” says Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs at the Block. “These objects really put us as close as we can possibly come to knowing and touching a time that’s very, very distant from us and how that activates our ability to imagine and understand a time.””
Jonathan Carey, January 16, 2019
North by Northwestern
The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art may call her the associate director of curatorial affairs, but Kathleen Bickford Berzock is a storyteller. It's what drives her exhibitions.”
Justin Curto, May 30, 2018
International Center of Medieval Art
Using objects as points of entry and inquiry, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time will interweave the art history, archaeology, history and comparative literature of trans-Saharan trade, situating it within a broad geographical and historical context.”
August 22, 2018
Ismali Mail
“Caravans of Gold” is the first major art exhibition to address the global reach of West Africa in the medieval period.”
August 12, 2018
Mutual Art
Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time challenges the widely held bias of a timeless Africa that is cut off from the dynamics of world history.”
August 01, 2018
Daily Northwestern
"Iconic advertisements can be found everywhere, from a can of 7Up in the fridge to the classic Motorola flip phone in the palm of your hand. As the inventors of these cultural staples, Morton and Millie Goldsholl know that firsthand." - Victoria Lee ”
Victoria Lee, October 3, 2018
Voice Of America
Arguably, the greatest African civilization in the Medieval world was the Empire of Mali”
Adam Philips, October 1, 2018
Ufahamu Africa Podcast
This exhibit is really eye-opening and makes us rethink the role of Africa in global commerce.”
December 29, 2018
Make it Better
This “first-of-its-kind exhibition” will feature more than 250 artworks and fragments as the Block Museum “celebrates West Africa’s historic and underrecognized global significance.” ”
Anna Carlson, December 27, 2018
Evanston Magazine
By exploring the global impact of Saharan trade routes on a medieval economy fueled by gold, the exhibition upends historical misconceptions and demonstrates Africa’s influence on medieval Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.”
Sherry Thomas, December 1, 2018
Chicago Magazine
Mention the Middle Ages and most people think of the knights and castles of Europe, but this exhibit aims to reframe this fertile period through the countries of West Africa, where a robust culture produced exquisite gold filigree carvings, coins, tapestries, and sculptures.”
Jason Foumberg, December 20, 2018
Evanston Review
Yusuf Usman, former director general of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in Nigeria and a contributor to the “Caravans of Gold” publication, believes this collaboration is an essential opportunity for museum goers and exhibition partners.”
December 19, 2018
Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
“The legacy of medieval trans-Saharan exchange has largely been omitted from Western historical narratives and art histories, and certainly from the way that Africa is presented in art museums,” Berzock said.”
December 5, 2018
Metromix
The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University’s “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa” is the first major exhibition to highlight West Africa’s global reach in the medieval period of the 8th to 16th centuries.”
December 3, 2018
Sotheby's Museum Network
The exhibition is notable for an unprecedented number of loans from the national collections of Africa, including many works never before seen in the United States.”
December 1, 2018
Sheridan Road
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.”
December 1, 2018
Trib Local
Unlike the more traditional art museum focus on masterworks grouped within periods and geographical area, "Caravans of Gold" utilizes a cutting-edge curatorial approach, juxtaposing fragments with artworks from across regions and time frames, and drawing revelatory passages from medieval texts in Arabic that describe Saharan trade.”
November 29, 2018
Reddit Evanston
A companion book of essays, co-published by the Block Museum of Art and Princeton University Press, expands the focus of the project and is designed to serve as a significant new resource on the subject, based on the most up-to-date research across fields of study.”
November 29, 2018
Patch Evanston
The “Caravans of Gold” exhibition includes an unprecedented number of loans from the national collections of Mali, Morocco and Nigeria, never before seen in the United States, including from Mali irreplaceable terracotta sculptures, manuscripts and the delicate remains of woven indigo-dyed cloth from the medieval period that are among Africa’s oldest surviving textiles. ”
November 29, 2018
Evanston Now
By exploring the global impact of Saharan trade routes on a medieval economy fueled by gold, the exhibition upends historical misconceptions and demonstrates Africa’s influence on medieval Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and beyond.”
November 29, 2018
Blouin Art Info
Berzock said. “‘Caravans of Gold’ has been conceived to shine a light on Africa’s pivotal role in world history through the tangible materials that remain.””
November 29, 2018
Asian Campus Tribune
A first-of-its-kind exhibition from the Block Museum of Art, coming in January, will showcase medieval Africa as an economic and cultural force, influencing Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and beyond.”
November 10, 2018
ArtGeek
More than 100 assembled artworks and archeological fragments will help audiences discover the far-reaching impact of historic trans-Saharan exchange and the overlooked role of West Africa at the forefront of these developments”
November 10, 2018
Aramco World
This exhibit challenges the colonial stereotype of "timeless Africa," a continent cut off from the dynamics of history.”
November 10, 2018
Devdiscourse
The exhibition is a means of binding West Africa to North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.”
November 8, 2018