Featured Acquisition
Maternity Group

This mother and child sculpture is the first work from east Africa to enter the FIA collection. It was carved and ornamented by a member of the Kamba tribe, a rural group of people who keep livestock and farm along the banks of rivers in southern Kenya. Figures like this wood carving were probably used in connection with the cult of the ancestors, representing clan founders and important elders.

In addition to depicting a mother and her infant son, the sculptor has included a feline creature sitting on top of the woman's head. While the exact meaning of the animal is not known, it may represent a totem, or an animal believed to have spiritual significance. Totem animals are regarded as group members and given the same respect and protection as humans. They are not killed or eaten and if caught in a trap they are released unharmed. The type of animals vary from group to group, but the human members of the clan share their temperament and characteristics. It is believed the totem animal favors its human kin and will assist them by hunting for them.

Maternity Group

Kamba Tribe
Kenya, Africa
Maternity Group, n.d.
Wood, metal, beads
12.5 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches
Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment, 2014.36
Other Acquisitions
Dogon Tribe
Mali, Africa
Granary Door, n.d.
Wood and metal
17.25 x 12 x 1.75 inches
Gift of Susan Steiner Bolhouse, 2014.37

Ruth Weisberg
American, b. 1942
Neverland, 1976
Lithograph on paper
22 x 31.875 inches
In memory of Nancy Rajala, 2014.38

Cecil Beaton
English, 1904–1980
Untitled (Portrait of Mrs. Thelma C. Foy), n.d.
Gelatin silver print
12.5 x 11 inches
Gift of Mary Davison Rice, 2014.39
Kees Van Dongen
Dutch, 1877–1968
Arc de Triomphe, 1949
Lithograph on paper
22.25 x 15 inches
Gift of the Estate of Herbert J.
Booth, 2014.40

Maurice Utrillo
French, 1883–1955
Untitled, ca. 1900
Lithograph on paper
8 x 6.5 inches
Gift of the Estate of Herbert J.
Booth, 2014.41

Guy Palazzola
American, 1919–1978
Tribal Memory, ca. 1950
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 30 inches
Gift of the Estate of Herbert J.
Booth, 2014.42
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Flint Institute of Arts
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