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Guardians of Grain: Bamana and Dogon Door Locks

November 22, 2014 - July 26, 2015

Bamana Peoples, Granary Door Lock, n.d. 16 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 2 3/8 in., Carved wood. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Gift of Mauricio and Emilia Lasansky and the Lasansky Corporation, 87.1.5
In 1987, Emilia and Mauricio Lasansky gave the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art a collection of 54 African door locks. Created by the Bamana (or Bambara) and Dogon peoples of Mali, wooden door locks used to be common on houses, vestibules, chicken coops, and especially granaries.  Today they are rare, replaced by padlocks, discredited by Islamic practices, or sold for the growing trade in African art.  
Created to be functional with spiritual references, these door locks have a strong sculptural appeal for western art audiences, even when viewers do not know their original cultural context.  The shapes, forms, and incised designs have a powerful aesthetic presence and speak of the deep human need to manipulate and decorate even the most mundane pieces of daily life.

On view for the first time in many years, this exhibition presents the breadth and depth of the Lasansky gift and celebrates the diverse forms that these locks took.


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