The collection at an early stage!

About the Project! The goals of the project are to produce a catalog of the African art collections held by the Center for African & African American Studies at SUNO, to futher the understanding of that art, and to increase the public's awareness of these collections.

A published catalog, and these web pages, will help make the public aware of our holdings. A lecture series during 1995-1996 helped to increase our knowledge of the collections and further the public's awareness. The speakers in this series included:

  • William Fageley, New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Dr. William Bertrand, Tulane University
  • Charles Davis, Davis Gallery of African Art
  • Dr. Mikelle Omari-Obayemi, University of Arizona
  • Dr. Richard Long, Emory University
  • Fr. Joseph Cornet, independent scholar, Belgium
  • Charles Henault, former field collector & first employee of the Art Museum in Kinshasa, Zaire
  • Peggy McDowell, University of New Orleans
  • Gene Willett, Collector of African Art
  • Paula Allen, Amistad Research Center


Legal Notice

A. The photographs reproduced on these web pages are copyrighted by The Center for African & African American Studies at Southern University at New Orleans. These photographs may only be reproduced electronically when zipped together with the notices and information provided.
B. These photographs may not be electronically reproduced in any other manner (such as an illustration on a WWW site). They may not be distributed electronically in any other manner other than that described above.
C. Any photograph may be reproduced in scholarly printed material under the following conditions:

  1. The caption must include the following information: "Bertrand Collection, Center for African & African American Studies, Southern University at New Orleans" (or whichever collection the object comes from);
  2. At least one copy of the article, paper, etc. must be donated to the Center for African & African American Studies.
    (See below for the address.)

Research done on the collection is encouraged, and we welcome enquiries.

D. Further information, including arrangements for more information on the over 900 pieces of African art held by CAAAS at SUNO, clearer photographs, etc., may be obtained by writing:

email for the project: (to send a comment, press here)

Curator of the Collections; Dr. Sara Hollis Fine Arts & Philosophy Dept. SUNO New Orleans, LA 70126 (504) 286-5207 FAX (504) 286-5161, or to e-mail, press here

Electronic Advisor for the Collections; Dr. Terrance Lewis History Program SUNO New Orleans, LA 70126

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To the Photo Page! Press here!

Most of the photographs are color jpgs, zipped together with the legal announcements. These will be exchanged about once a month, along with the descriptions. If we can find an acceptable ftp site to place the replaced files in, a link will be provided at the bottem of the photopage.

For any visitors who are subscribers to delphi internet service, copies of the files are also housed there in the custom forum 243 (History & Archaeology) database. For those who might prefer a bbs site, I am posting copies in the file database of Southern Star BBS, at 504.885.5928 (it may also be reached by telnetting to, but that works best if you can connect with the ansi terminal emulation). The keyword for searches at either place is SUNO.

The Project Workers!

THE PROJECT DIRECTOR -- Dr. Sara Hollis, professor of Fine Arts, SUNO (1973), holds an MA in Anthropology with a concentration in African Studies from Indiana University and the Doctorate in Humanities with a concentration in African American Studies from Atlanta University. Dr. Hollis began her teaching career in Nigeria, West Africa, with the Peace Corps, and has been on the faculty at SUNO since 1973, where she has helped develop the African and African American curriculum. Dr. Hollis also lectures locally and nationally on subjects relating to African Art History and Archeology. She is also the curator for the African art collection and her reputation as a scholar and her work on this collection has resulted in donations to the collection. She has supervised all work on the collection so far.

Dr. Hollis

THE PROJECT CODIRECTOR -- Dr. Terrance Lewis, associate professor of British & World history, SUNO (1991). Dr. Lewis is a dedicated net-surfer, and acts as the computer coordinator, electronic curator, & webmaster for this project. Author of a number of articles, he has also published two monographs (A Climate for Appeasement -- Peter Lang Publishers, 1991; and Dorothy L. Sayers' Wimsey & Interwar British Society -- Edwin Mellen Press, 1994.)
Dr. Lewis may be contacted here; or you may like to see his home page!


Mrs. Florence Borders is a professional archivist with a Master's degree in Library Science. She has served recently as the archivist on a part-time basis for the CAAAS at SUNO after a distinguished career as the archivist for the internationally- known Amistad Research Center, which is currently housed on the Tulane University campus. Mrs. Borders brings to CAAAS and this project a depth of experience in working with African Studies materials as well as acquaintance with many of her counterparts in centers round the nation.


Dr. Stella Jones, consultant for SUNO's African art and noted collector and dealer of contemporary African Art, and Ms. Vanessa Perkins, registrar of the collections, study some of the collection in 1991.


  • Vanessa L. Perkins, Assistant Curator & Registrar, is a Fine Arts & African Studies major at SUNO, and as been associated with the African Art project since 1991 as assistant curator.
  • Senior art student Sean Haynes designed the SUNO knight logo on the home page. Those interested in having Mr. Haynes design logos for their projects may contact him through the project. Dr. Lewis would especially like to thank Mr. Haynes for his contribution. Mr. Haynes was also a project intern for spring 1996. Mr. Haynes is now an alumnus of SUNO.
  • Djunghu Balowa, intern 1995-1996
  • Arthur Moore, intern fall 1995
  • Jamar Pierre, intern fall 1995
  • L'Oreal Evans, intern fall 1995
  • Monica Barber, intern spring 1996
  • Luiza Benicio, intern spring 1996
  • Dr. Hollis would like to thank the many students who have taken her Zaire art seminar over the past year for their help in organizing the collection, and to thank those teachers who participated in the 1995 LEH summer institute for their contributions .

the late Dr. Charles Frye, CAAAS director, 1991-1994

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About the Collections!

The largest portion of the African Art collections at SUNO are the Drs. William and Jane Bertrand collections. Donated to Southern University At New Orleans in 1991, and added to since then, the Bertrand Collections of African art from Zaire consists of bark cloths, textiles, drums, slit gongs, ceremonial staffs, raffi a masks, helmet masks, bellows, ceremonial tobacco pipes, stools, lances, currency, axes, daggers, knives of chieftaincy, throwing knives, combat knives, circumcision knives, whistles, divination glides, mortars, and palm wine drinking cups. The pieces are made of wood, fibre, and metal. Items are dated from, 40 to 100 years old. A number of different ethnic groups are represented. The collections consist of almost 500 items.

A recent collection is the Dr. and Mrs. Pascal James Imperato Collection. The Imperato Collection consists of fourteen African art objects from Mali. Among the pieces are masks, door locks, textiles, and a set of magnificent antelope headdresses. The Imperato Collection was acquired in 1993.

The Original Collection is the Hugh and Ida Kohlmeyer collection. In 1979, artist and collector Ida Kohlmeyer donated 43 pieces of African and Pre-Columbian art to Southern University at New Orleans. The collection consists of pieces from the Massi, Yaka, Teke, Bamana, Ianti, Yoruba, Senufo, Baule, Dogon, Bekom, Igbo, Guro, and Ashanti peoples of Africa. Also included in the collection is a Djuka canoe prow from Suriname and 20 pieces of Pre-Columbian art.

The Christian Collection is a gift of 10 items of African art and books from the late Edward Christian, former operator of Rhodesia graphics in New Orleans' French Quarter. Art works include an ebony mask, sandstone sculptures, San (Bushman) weapons, a copper Zimbabwe plaque, a Masai necklace and a carved wooden baby coffin. Books include Wilbur Smith novels, among which is his first, "When the Lion Feeds." This collection of modern African tourist art was acquired in 1991.

Another Collection of recent tourist art from Zaire is the SUNO Foundation collection, purchased in the 1980s when Dr. Bashful was Chancellor.

A recently donated collection (1995) is the Povey Collection of African textiles. This collection was exhibited in SUNO's Multi-Purpose Building Art Gallery during Black History Month, 1996.

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