The Toronto museum has acquired a sculpture made from 100,000 pieces of Lego. Hopefully it doesn’t get accidentally dropped, because imagine rebuilding the sculpture, let alone picking up the scattered Lego pieces! The huge sculpture was created by Ghanian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako, who envisioned the ancient trading an ancient trading town in Mauritania one thousand years in the future:
Kumbi Saleh was the centre of the trans-Saharan trade route at the height of the Ghana Empire, boosting cultural diffusion between Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
The work was the centrepiece of Nimako’s 2019 solo exhibition Building Black: Civilisations at the museum. It was commissioned as a response to the museum’s concurrent archaeological show Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time, which explored ancient trades routes in the Sahara and their cross-cultural impact, including their role in the spread of Islam.
The acquisition “enhances the museum’s ability to tell global stories about the contributions of Muslim civilisations across time”, says the museum's curator, Michael Chagnon. And it boosts the institution’s other efforts to spotlight Islamic studies, like a newly launched podcast series exploring Muslim arts and culture.
“His being a Toronto-based artist was also critical to our decision,” Chagnon says. “The museum is a cultural hub for our neighbourhood and part of our work—and part of any museum’s work—must be to support local artists.”
Image via The Art Newspaper