“The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present Africa & Byzantium, a seminal exhibition of nearly 200 works that will explore the tradition of Byzantine art and culture in North and East Africa from the 4th through the 15th century and beyond. On view from November 19, 2023, through March 3, 2024, Africa & Byzantium will shed light on an underrepresented area of art history and showcase a burgeoning new field of interdisciplinary scholarship on medieval Africa. Even though Byzantium was a vast empire that spanned parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia, its extensive connections to Africa have previously been understudied. Bringing together art, religion, literature, history, and archaeology, this innovative exhibition will highlight artworks from the multicultural communities of northern and eastern Africa.” — The Met
“This stunning exhibition brings new focus and scholarship to an understudied field, expanding our knowledge of Byzantine and Early Christian Art within an expansive worldview,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO. “Through spectacular and widely unknown works of art, Africa & Byzantium illuminates the development, continuity, and adaptation of Byzantine art and culture in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, recentering African artistic contributions to the pre-modern period.”
Installation views of Africa & Byzantium, on view November 19, 2023–March 3, 2024 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photos by Anna-Marie Kellen, courtesy of The Met.
Andrea Achi, Mary and Michael Jaharis Associate Curator of Byzantine Art at The Met, said: “Africa & Byzantium builds upon the long legacy of The Met’s award-winning Byzantine exhibitions. Bringing together new research from over forty scholars worldwide, the exhibition addresses how diverse communities connected to Byzantium flourished in African empires and kingdoms for over a thousand years. It will broaden public understanding of the Byzantine world, its reach, and transcultural authority and examine the critical role of early African Christian civilizations in this creative sphere.”
Africa & Byzantium is organized by Andrea Achi, Mary and Michael Jaharis Associate Curator of Byzantine Art, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters at The Met. Helen C. Evans, Curator Emerita, serves as consulting curator. Michelle al-Ferzly, Research Associate, has provided research assistance. Kristen Windmuller-Luna, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, serves as contributing curator for the exhibition.