Looking Back Into the Future
Arts of Africa
On View: Double Take Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor
ART OF WRITING
Both of these works, separated by many centuries, use the human body as a platform for expressing and displaying script.
Shabtis are funerary figures intended to do the agricultural work the gods might require of the deceased, represented here holding hoes. The hieroglyphic inscription on this figure is a spell from the Book of the Dead, asking the shabti to do the Nubian king Senkamanisken’s work for him in the afterlife.
Owusu-Ankomah's paintings depict a spiritual world occupied by people and symbols. The male figure in this work is covered by, and moves within, Akan adinkra symbols from the artist's native Ghana, each of which graphically represents a particular concept or proverb. Looking Back Into the Future depicts a nude man with his head turned backward, in a pose associated with the Akan proverbial concept of sankofa ("one must know the past to know the future").
You can see a contemporary version of adinkra cloth among the "touch" textiles around the corner.
Acrylic on canvas
Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will assist if we can.
Owusu-Ankomah (Ghanaian, born 1956). Looking Back Into the Future, 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 59 1/16 x 78 3/4 in. (150 x 200 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 2014.32.1. © Owusu-Ankomah
overall, 2014.32.1_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.