My passion for African art began over 35 years ago. As an African-American, I always felt a connection to African tribal art. What began as an interest, soon became an obsession as I yearned to learn more about the people, lands, customs and artifacts we in the west call tribal art.
Like most people who begin to collect African tribal art, I started with masks and statues, which were produced by the trade for tourists. I found these items aesthetically beautiful and intriguing, however, I wanted more. I wanted the actual items that had been used, I wanted a piece of history and I wanted to connect to my African culture. Hence,
the Bronze Kingdom was born.
In America, there is a lot of African art on display in museums and galleries as well as some wonderful private collections, but I knew that my love of African art would lead me to Africa where I could see and touch and learn for myself the culture of the African peoples. I first traveled to Ghana in 2000 where I met a dozen of traders in African art, went to the villages to see how the artifacts were being used and met some incredible people along the way. The stories, the land, and most of all the people left a lasting impression on me. So much so that ten years later,
I moved to South Africa.
Through my connections with the tribes throughout the continent, I have been blessed to assemble one of the finest African bronze collections in the world. Today, Bronze Kingdom has over 2,000 pieces from all over the continent, from places including Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Côte d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and The Congo.
My wish is for our patrons to learn the history of the African people. To understand that African Americans are not only descendants of slaves. Slavery is apart of our history, but it is not the whole story. Our story begins with our ancestors in Africa who were Kings and Queens, and our legacy is told through the stories of their African artifacts that we will now call African Art.
MEET THE BK STAFF
Professor Don Harrell, is an African scholar, ethnomusicologist, folklorist, storyteller, and musician, whose work is centered on bringing clarity to perceptions of both African and African-American life and culture. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in American Studies from Union College, Schenectady, New York, a Master’s of Arts in African Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, California, and has furthered his studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
Don the co-founder of Orisirisi African Folklore, a performing arts company rooted in the history, culture, and traditions of Africa that illuminates the beauty and poignancy of both African and African-American culture, is faculty at the University of Central Florida’s Africana Studies Program, Burnett’s Honors College, and Valencia College.
Gallery Assistant - Intern
Terrence comes to the Bronze Kingdom from the University of Central Florida where he majors in Interdisciplinary Studies and minors in Non-profit management. His passion for arts and culture is what led him to pursue an opportunity with our gallery. Terrence helps provide a positive gallery experience whether it be facilitating a tour or providing sales assistance. Here are some fun facts about Terrence: he is a philanthropist, dancer, stepper, aspiring actor, and a huge Transformers movie fanatic.