Through the ages gold has been synonymous with the rich and powerful. From Egyptian pharaohs’ death masks to the treasures of the Aztecs, every culture has shown its greatness using the precious metal. Due to its malleable nature, gold was a material that artisans could use to create everything, from dazzling jewelry to treasured masterpieces of art.
One such display of gold was front and center at the Dallas Museum of Art on Wednesday, April 11, when The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana was previewed to an invitation-only, Circle Members crowd of 200 including Andy Smith, Brendan McGuire, Catherine Marcus Rose, Reg Manhas, Sheryl Adkin, Debra and Ken Hamlett, Kevin Felder, Regina Hill Onyeibe, Emmanuel Kofi Pepra-Omani, Jennifer Scripps, Helen Giddings, Lily Weiss, Autumn Childs, Jerika Brito-Morales, Jessica and Patrick Washington, Shelly Hoglund Dee and Michael Dee and members of the DFW Asante and Asona royals.
On hand for the event was Asante Mamponghene Daasebre Osei Bonsu II representing Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the 16th Asantehene (or ruler) of the Asante empire in Ghana, and the Asante people. Accompanying the Mamponghene were his wife Janet Gyimah-Kessie and daughter Dr. Naana Gyimah-Kessie.
At the podium in the Hamon Atrium, DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga and Dallas City Councilperson Dwaine Caraway presented the Mampoonghene with special edition books from the City of Dallas and the DMA, “specially created presentation copies of the exhibition catalog for both the Mamponghene and Asantehene.”
Agustin pointed out that the exhibition was the result of efforts by DMA Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas and the Pacific/The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, Dr. Roslyn Walker. Agustin said, “’The Power of Gold’ is her extraordinary achievement – an exhibition that began with a small idea for two small objects in the collection – the golden lion and spider sword ornaments, which she acquired for the Museum’s acclaimed collection. But Roz with her remarkable intelligence, scholarship, tenacity and creativity, grew that one idea for the display of two objects into this magnificent exhibition.”
The Mamponghene also acknowledged Roz’s contribution by saying she had captured the true history and spirit of the Asante people.
Her efforts results in a priceless collection of more than 250 pieces related to the Asante royals through the ages from public and private collections.
The collection of items of regalia, colorful and intricately woven silk kente cloth, ceremonial furniture, state swords, linguist staffs, and other significant objects associated with the Asante culture will be on display at the DMA until Sunday, August 12.
* Photo provided by Dallas Museum of Art