all photos by Franko Khoury, courtesy of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

The year 2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the first work of art by an identified African artist to be accessioned into the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, an untitled study by Sudanese modernist Ibrahim El-Salahi (Fig. 1).1 Just two years after the museum was founded, the accessioning of El-Salahi's ink drawing suggests the diverse and inclusive representation of Africa's arts that would become characteristic of this institution. It also gives insight into the increased interest of the times in more accurate and in depth understanding of African creativity—as evidenced by the launching of this journal, African Arts, within just twelve months—and reveals the fierce intellectualism and creativity in...

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