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African Art Awards at Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Ideum collaborated with NMAfA to create an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to explore the museum's collection.
Authored by
Jim Spadaccini
Founder & Creative Director

Last week, staff from Ideum attended the 2019 African Art Awards held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (NMAfA). The Awards ceremony, which honored artists Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Elias Sime, was held in the Museum’s newly renovated pavilion, which now includes a new custom interactive exhibit developed by Ideum and NMAfA running on two light gray Platform Classic Touch Tables.

The event was a celebration of African art and artists and the diversity of African cultures, and it featured music and an amazing menu from Chef Pierre Thiam including a variety of Senegalese dishes.

The touch table exhibit we developed with NMAfA contains images and information on more than 200 works in the collection. These works span the entire African continent and range from traditional to contemporary pieces. The collection also includes important pieces from African artists who have settled in the United States or Europe.

This new interactive exhibit includes an animated map feature that reveals the countries of origin of each piece along with key information about the artist and the artwork. Another element lets visitors learn more about Africa’s history, geography, and diversity. Placed in the entry pavilion, the touch table exhibits reveal a sampling of the work that can be found in the galleries, along with some items that are in the collection but not on display.

This exhibit marks Ideum’s fifth collaboration with a Smithsonian museum. Ideum has also been fortunate to work with the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. We hope to put together a video demonstrating the new Smithsonian African Art exhibit in the coming weeks.