Lecture: Herbert M. Cole on Mothers and Children in the Arts of Africa
Talk / Lecture
11:00 to 12:00
Sat, December 9, 2017

Co-presented with Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles

On the African continent, images of mothers and children are found wherever the visual arts are, from early rock-art sites in Egypt and the Sahara to the contemporary arts of South Africa. Found in a variety of materials, from stone, ivory, and metals to beadwork, wood, and even paintings, images of maternity enliven virtually every type of object made in the region.

Defining maternity as simultaneously biological and cultural, art historian Herbert Cole moves from obvious notions of fertility and nurturing to consider the importance of maternity in thought, ritual action and worldview. A book signing of Cole’s Maternity: Mothers and Children in the Arts of Africa will follow in the Fowler Museum Store where copies are available for purchase.

About the author
Herbert M. Cole is professor emeritus of history of art and architecture at the University of California Santa Barbara. Known to many as Skip, he taught African art history (as well as Oceanic and Native American) from 1968–2003. He taught briefly at University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Cole is author, co-author, or editor of eleven books on African arts and 60+ essays and articles. Four years of African field research centered on southeastern Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Cote d’Ivoire. He has organized 13 exhibitions of African art, at such venues as the The Fowler Museum at UCLA, the Art, Design, & Architecture Museum UC Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, and The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC. He invited students to collaborate on and write for several of these projects.

In 2001, Cole was recognized for his lifetime achievement in the form of the Leadership Award from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA), the professional body for Africanists. Cole continues to publish, and he has been a consultant to museums and private collectors in the United States and abroad. For the past 16 years, as Kofi Cole, he has carved miniature works of African art.


Herbert M. Cole is professor emeritus of history of art and architecture at the University of California Santa Barbara.

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