The collection includes 1,469 color slides (35mm) which were taken in Nigeria from circa 1964-1994, and focus on ancestral altars; artists; art objects in museums, including bronze plaques and carved ivory tusks; ceremonies and festivals, including the Igue and Ewere Festivals, and the Emobo, Otue, Olokun, title-taking, and Blackmun's initation ceremonies; and people, including Oba Erediauwa and chiefs Eribo, Ero, Esogban, Ezomo, Ohanmu and Osaigeide; and street and landscape scenes in Benin City, Ife, Lagos, Ishiago, and Mbarri, Owerri, Owo, among other locations in Nigeria.
Scope and Contents:
The collection includes 1,469 color slides (35mm) which were taken in circa 1969 to 1994, and focus on African art objects, prominent people, especially chiefs, festivals and ceremonies, and landscape and street scenes in Nigeria, including Benin City, Ife, Ishiago, Jeronimos, Lagos, Mbari, Oshagbe, Owerri, Owo, Oyo, and Udu.
Many of the images are of art objects in museums, particularly in the Jos Museum, the Owo Museum, the Benin Museum, the Lagos Museum, the Ife Palace Museum, and the University of Ife Museum. The objects include altar stands, armlets, bells, bowls, boxes, bracelets, figures, Oko (flutes), ivory gongs, Ikengobos, masks, motif drawings, pendants, plaques, regalia, salt cellars, staffs, stools, and carved ivory tusks.
People depicted include the Oba Erediauwa, and the chiefs Eribo, Ero, Esogban, Ezomo, Ohanmu and Osaigeide. The collection also documents ceremonies and festivals, including the Igue and Ewere Festivals, and the Emobo, Otue, and Olokun ceremonies as well as Ineh Isienmwenro's title-taking, and Blackmun's initation.
Arranged into 4 series:
Series 1: Museum Objects (747 slides), 1979-1994
Series 2: Ceremonies (227 slides), circa 1969-1994
Series 3: People (354 slides), circa 1969-1994
Series 4: Landscape and Street Scenes (141 slides), circa 1969-1994
Biographical / Historical:
African art historian Barbara Winston Blackmun (1928-) is a specialist in Nigerian antiquities, particularly Nok terracottas, the bronzes of Ile Ife, and the bronzes and ivories of the Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria. She earned her BFA at UCLA (1949), MA at Arizona State University (1971), and Doctor of Philosophy in Art History at UCLA (1984).
Over her career, Blackmun's research has included fieldwork in Malawi (1964-1969) and research of Ife antiquities with Frank Willett (1978-79) and various collections on Benin antiquities in the U.K., U.S., Europe, and Africa (1980-present). Recipient of a Fulbright (1981-1982) and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (1994), she conducted field work at the Oba's court in Benin City, Nigeria. Additionally, she has published numerous exhibition catalogs and articles in journals such as African Arts.
Blackmun taught art history at the Malawi Polytechnic College, Blantyre, (1965—1969), San Diego Mesa College (at which she is Professor Emeritus) (1971—2010), University of California, San Diego (1987, 2008, 2004), and UCLA (1987, 2000), among other places. She also curated and acted as a curatorial consultant of African art collections at numerous institutions, including Mesa College, the San Diego Museum of Art (2010), Chicago Field Museum (1990—1993), Chicago Art Institute (1994, 2006—2008), Detroit Institute of Art (2002—2010), Museum fuer Voelkerkunde, Vienna (2003—2008), and the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin (2003—2008).
Her committee work includes serving as National Program Director for the African American Institute, Malawi (1968—1969), a member of the Education Council, Contemporary Arts Committee, San Diego Museum of Art (1975—1978), a board member of the San Diego Mesa College Foundation (1983-) and the African and African-American Studies Research Center, University of California, San Diego, and Chair of the African Arts Council, San Diego Museum of Art.
Donated by Monica Blackmun Visona, 2016.
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details. Items 1234-1256 restricted. Available to view onsite only.
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.