(GOLDENDALE, Wash., April 21, 2014) – African Art from the Mary Johnston Collection will open at Maryhill Museum of Art on August 9, 2014. The exhibition includes masks, sculptures and other objects from the people groups who populate West Africa, including the Yoruba (Nigeria/Benin), the Bambara and Dogon (Mali), the Bobo (Burkina Faso), the Senufo and Baule (Ivory Coast), the Ashanti (Ghana), the Idoma and Ejagham (Nigeria), and the Bamileke (Cameroon), among others.
“This is the first exhibition of African Art to be presented at Maryhill,” says executive director Colleen Schafroth. “We are looking forward to giving residents of the Gorge and southeast Washington an opportunity to explore the fascinating culutral and artistic traditions represented in the exhibition.”
Traditional African sculpture is central to tribal life and thought. It encompasses utilitarian objects such as exquisitely carved chests, stools, headrests, walking sticks, pulleys, combs, dolls, and spoons, as well as figurative sculptures intended to praise powerful kings and tribal chiefs. Some objects are made for home altars and village shrines, while various types of masks are intended to be worn during initiation rites, harvest festivals, religious ceremonies, funerals, and masquerades.
The objects in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Mary Johnston of Florence, Ore. Johnston, who is originally from The Dalles, who holds degrees from the University of Oregon in anthropology and psychology. She inherited the collection from her brother who acquired it in Berlin, Germany in the early 1970s. When she saw the collection for the first time, she was immediately intrigued by the beauty and vitality of the pieces and has devoted the last 20 years of her life to their study.
The exhibition is produced with curatorial assistance from the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University and sponsored by Laura and John Cheney.
A number of related educational programs will give visitors an opportunity to delve more deeply into the exhbition. For hi-resolution images, please email rachel@maryhillmuseum.org, or go to http://bit.ly/1kP1KId.
Related Program:

Saturday, August 9, 2014 | 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Obo Addy Legacy Project

Take a trip to Ghana and West Africa riding on the authentic rhythms and explosive sounds of the always captivating musicians and dancers who make up the Obo Addy Legacy Project.


Housed in a glorious Beaux Arts mansion on 5,300 acres high above the Columbia River, Maryhill Museum of Art opened to the public May 13, 1940 and today remains one of the Pacific Northwest’s most enchanting cultural destinations. The museum was founded by Northwest entrepreneur and visionary Sam Hill, who purchased the property and began building the house with dreams of establishing a Quaker farming community. When that goal proved untenable, Hill was encouraged by friends Loie Fuller, Queen Marie of Romania, and Alma de Bretteville Spreckles to establish a museum.

Maryhill Museum of Art boasts a world-class permanent collection, rotating exhibitions of the highest caliber, and dynamic educational programs that provide opportunities for further exploration by visitors of all ages. On view are more than 80 works by Auguste Rodin, European and American paintings, objects d’art from the palaces of the Queen of Romania, Orthodox icons, unique chess sets, and the renowned Théâtre de la Mode, featuring small-scale mannequins attired in designer fashions of post-World War II France. Baskets of the indigenous people of North America were a collecting interest of Hill; today the museum’s American Indian collection represents nearly every tradition and style in North America, with works of art from prehistoric through contemporary.  

Maryhill’s William and Catherine Dickson Sculpture Park features more than a dozen large-scale works by Northwest artists. The Maryhill Overlook is a site-specific sculpture by noted Portland architect Brad Cloepfil; nearby are Lewis and Clark interpretive panels. Four miles east of Maryhill is a life-sized replica of Stonehenge, Stonehenge Memorial, which Sam Hill built to memorialize local men who perished in World War I. Nearby, the Klickitat County War Memorial honors those who have died in the service of their country since World War I.

The museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 2001 the museum was listed as an official site of the National Historic Lewis and Clark Trail and in 2002 was accredited by the American Association of Museums. In 2012 the museum opened the Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, a 25,500 square foot expansion that is the first in the museum’s history. The new wing boasts the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Education Center, a collections storage and research suite, a new cafe and terrace, and the Cannon Power Plaza with an installation of sculpture, and sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood in the distance.

Maryhill Museum of Art is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 15 to November 15. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for youth age 7-18 and free for children 6 and under. Admission to the Stonehenge Memorial is free; it is open from 7:00 a.m. to dusk daily.

Sandwiches, salads, espresso drinks, cold beverages, and freshly baked desserts and pastries, as well as a selection of local wines are available at the museum’s cafe, Loie’s, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily; the Museum Store features art and history books, jewelry, Native American crafts and other mementos.

Maryhill is located off Highway 97, 12 miles south of Goldendale, Washington. Drive times to the museum are 2 hours from Portland/Vancouver, 3.5 hours from Bend, 4 hours from Seattle, and 1.5 hours from Yakima. For further information, visit maryhillmuseum.org.