Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Makonde Tree of Life: Update #4

UPDATE #4: Lost and Found


Have you ever had to make a phone call and start it with “Please bear with me, this will make sense in a minute.”  After repeatedly explaining to the woman who answered my phone call at Morehouse College that I was trying to reach the President of that college, I was finally directed to his assistant who patiently listened to my story again.  


“I understand, that sounds like something Dr. Wilson owns.”  I was asked to email a picture and the story again and she would check for me.  


Two days later I got an email from Morehouse.  “Dr. Wilson would like to speak with you today, are you available?”  I wasn’t, but I made time.  


“Hello? Olivia?  You found my piece!”  


We had found the owner of the Makonde Tree of Life!  Turns out it wasn’t a Found In Collection after all, but an artwork accidentally left behind.  He didn’t have much time but I was able to get a bit of the story on the work from Dr. Wilson before he had to go.


On a trip to Tanzania, Dr. Wilson saw examples of Makonde carvings and bought a few on that trip to be shipped back to the United States.  He kept in touch with one of the carvers who came to the U.S. every few years and he believes our piece was purchased from the artist in New York.  He has several other Makonde works, a few that are very large, but none quite like this one.  


Confirming that the work was made of ebony root wood, Dr. Wilson said it symbolizes how “As we cooperate and work together, the community grows.”  


The work had been in his office at GW and when he left to work for the White House in 2009 he had asked that it be moved with the rest of his things, but it somehow got left behind. He thought it had been lost in the move and was overjoyed when he got the email from us. I told him that a few offices had expressed an interest in showing the work and he got quiet. “Olivia, I wish I could give it to you but for sentimental reasons I can’t. It was in my office at MIT. It was in my office at GW. I would love to have it here in my office at Morehouse.”  


Although we’ve solved the mystery of where this piece came from, who it belongs to, and where it’s going, we still have more questions to be answered - and only a few short weeks to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About the Blog

Ipsum Tempor

Sit amet

Covering exhibits at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and giving you a peek into the Permanent Collection of the George Washington University.

Ultricies Eget

Coming Soon...

Coming Soon...
Howard Hodgkin: Paintings - May 16, 2012

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Makonde Tree of Life: Update #4

UPDATE #4: Lost and Found


Have you ever had to make a phone call and start it with “Please bear with me, this will make sense in a minute.”  After repeatedly explaining to the woman who answered my phone call at Morehouse College that I was trying to reach the President of that college, I was finally directed to his assistant who patiently listened to my story again.  


“I understand, that sounds like something Dr. Wilson owns.”  I was asked to email a picture and the story again and she would check for me.  


Two days later I got an email from Morehouse.  “Dr. Wilson would like to speak with you today, are you available?”  I wasn’t, but I made time.  


“Hello? Olivia?  You found my piece!”  


We had found the owner of the Makonde Tree of Life!  Turns out it wasn’t a Found In Collection after all, but an artwork accidentally left behind.  He didn’t have much time but I was able to get a bit of the story on the work from Dr. Wilson before he had to go.


On a trip to Tanzania, Dr. Wilson saw examples of Makonde carvings and bought a few on that trip to be shipped back to the United States.  He kept in touch with one of the carvers who came to the U.S. every few years and he believes our piece was purchased from the artist in New York.  He has several other Makonde works, a few that are very large, but none quite like this one.  


Confirming that the work was made of ebony root wood, Dr. Wilson said it symbolizes how “As we cooperate and work together, the community grows.”  


The work had been in his office at GW and when he left to work for the White House in 2009 he had asked that it be moved with the rest of his things, but it somehow got left behind. He thought it had been lost in the move and was overjoyed when he got the email from us. I told him that a few offices had expressed an interest in showing the work and he got quiet. “Olivia, I wish I could give it to you but for sentimental reasons I can’t. It was in my office at MIT. It was in my office at GW. I would love to have it here in my office at Morehouse.”  


Although we’ve solved the mystery of where this piece came from, who it belongs to, and where it’s going, we still have more questions to be answered - and only a few short weeks to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Labels

Lorem ipsum

.

Lorem ipsum

Recent News

There was an error in this gadget

About

Washington, District of Columbia, United States
"Found In Collection" or simply "FIC" is the way many museums classify the more mysterious items in their possession that have little or no documentation. Here at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of the George Washington University, we do keep extensive records of our collection, but some of the items we come across in academic buildings or our own storage can leave us wondering. This blog is an effort to showcase some of the more curious examples and their stories, and to provide a glimpse of the great variety of art pieces within the collection. To learn more about the Brady Gallery's history, recent exhibitions, or the George Washington University, take a look at the links below.

Followers

Sociable

There was an error in this gadget