African Ceremonies ARCHIVE
African Ceremonies ARCHIVE 1975-2018
The African Ceremonies Archive covers the story of the origin of humankind in Africa. Starting with the earliest life-style: the hunter-gatherers of Botswana and Tanzania, it follows the paths of nomads, pastoralists, agriculturalists, traders, urban dwellers and Royal Kingdoms. From the deserts of the Sahara, to the Omo River Valley of Ethiopia, from the plains of Kenya, to the grasslands of Cameroon, the archive charts the journeys of people from birth to death exploring religions and beliefs from Animism and Voodoo, to Islam Judaism and Christianity. These unique cultural traditions, rituals and art forms display a boundless and brilliant creativity, and reveal a deep link to the spiritual world.
Working with over 200 different ethnic groups, in 45 countries, our 16 books form the heart of the archive. They are accompanied by thousands of images, fine art prints, video recordings, illustrated field journals, museum exhibitions and rare artifacts collected along our long journey.
Brief Summary / Overview of the Archive contents:
- Over 500,000+ field photographs covering 200 cultural groups from over 45 countries
- Over 1000+ hours of video footage
- 200 field journals illustrated with drawings and photographs linking the field photography and films
- 16 published books: Maasai; Africa Adorned; Nomads of Niger; African Ark; African Ceremonies Double Volume; Passages; African Ceremonies Concise; Body Painting Series: Surma, Karo; Maasai, Himba and Hamar; Faces of Africa; Dinka; Lamu; Painted Bodies; African Twilight (2018)
- 5 TV films produced by National Geographic and Survival Africa
- 4 museum traveling exhibitions
- Library collection of 400 books on traditional African art and culture
- Drawing Collection by Carol Beckwith made during 40 years of fieldwork.
- Collection of artefacts, textiles and jewelry,
Future / Placing of the Archive
Beyond simply safely storing and preserving the physical and digital archive, it is of deep importance to us that the potential of its contents be realized.
We will give our time to fill in the details of the archive and provide biographical and anecdotal information that will bring to life the stories of the people and cultures with whom we have worked for so long, opening up the world for scholarly and general interest audiences.
We will help construct an online museum of our work, available and free to access. This will act as a repository of the work, so that future generations of Africans, and others, may explore their cultural heritage, but also function as a museum exhibition, using the possibilities of digital technologies to bring these cultures to life for new audiences.
We will help create a cultural arts program of touring exhibitions, lectures, speakers and performances inspired by the archive.
With these aims in mind, we are seeking an institution where the archive can:
- Be preserved - photographs, video film etc protected against decay
- Maximize its potential - fully cataloguing and contextualising the images
- Be shared - with curators for traveling exhibitions and to other institutions
- Be brought to Life - photographs, video and fine art objects on display
- Be free and worldwide - free online platform for students, scholars and the general public worldwide, making available to all Africans their cultural history and heritage
To preserve for posterity this moving, precious and invaluable record of our human heritage, to make it available to researchers, curators and the public, and to create a living centre for outreach into the world, we are seeking a home for our archive.
African Ceremonies Inc. is a 501c3 Charitable Foundation, which receives tax-deductible donations to support African Ceremonies’ lifelong