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Christine Mullen Kreamer

Dr. Christine Mullen Kreamer is Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, where she has worked since 2000. Her exhibitions and publications explore art and ritual, gender, African systems of knowledge, and museum practice, and they bridge the disciplines of art history, anthropology, and museum studies.

In addition to research in Togo, she has worked on museum exhibition and training projects in Ghana and Vietnam. She received her Ph.D. from Indiana University. Her more recent exhibitions and co-authored publications include Conversations: African and African American Artwork in Dialogue (2014); African Cosmos: Stellar Arts (2012); Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen (2013); Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art (2007); and African Vision: The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection (2007). She co-curated Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts (2017, ongoing); she is also a contributing author for an essay on connoisseurship in the 2014 edited volume Visions from the Forest: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone and two essays in the 2011 edited volume Representing Africa in American Art Museums (University of Washington Press, 2011). In recognition of her outstanding achievements in the fields of art history and museum practice, Christine was named the Smithsonian Institution’s 2018 Distinguished Scholar in the Humanities.

Books mentioned in the interview include the following;  For the Caravans of Gold exhibition, organized by the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, that was slated to open in April. Publications that the museum has worked on connected for the series on African contributions to the history of knowledge, readers could consider: Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art (2007).African Cosmos: Stellar Arts (2012) and Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa (2013). Dr. Christine Mullen Kreamer is currently reading newspaper articles and books touching on topics of provenance and questions of restitution.  One publication you might list includes an article she wrote that focuses on Africa’s arts in the publication.

Ethiopian Orthodox; Ethiopia; 19th century; Leather, ink; H x W: 21.9 x 193 cm (8 5/8 x 76 in.)

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  1. Dear Christine Kraemer, Curator,

    Somewhere in the innards of the National Museum of African Art, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, there is a copy of my book: ‘The Murang’a Murals’. Featured in that book are 5 life-of-Christ-murals by Elimo Njau. The missing one is a painting of the ‘resurrection’ by the same artist.

    I have learned that a painting of the resurrection by Njau is in the custody of your Institution. I would like to include the resurrection painting as an addendum to my booklet. I do have an image of the painting which is quite suitable as such an addendum.

    With this note I am seeking permission from your institution as an official custodian of the painting to reproduce the paining as an addendum in my booklet, ‘The Murang’a Murals’l.

    With appreciation.

    Harold F. Miller

  2. […] Dr. Christine Mullen Kreamer works as Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. She spoke to us from Washington, D.C. where her role as curator sees her helping to oversee a large collection of global African art. The museum has a mission to bring about an understand of Africa as a global presence and a relevant entity in the present moment. She says that people shouldn’t think of Africa as a place that’s separate from the world, rather one that is an integral part of the global community. The museum was founded during the 1960s when African art wasn’t even on the radar, so to speak. Since its inception, the museum has brought together traditional and contemporary African art to give a cross cutting perspective and emphasize that some of the perceptions about Africa are culturally imposed by Westerners. Now, during this pandemic period, the museum is experiencing a shutdown. To hear more from Dr. Mullen Kreamer about the history, present and future of the National Museum of African Art, listen to the complete interview. […]


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