Tribal Show: Herbert (Skip) Cole, Professor Emeritus



Friends of Ethnic Art Lecture


50 years in African Art
50 Months of Fieldwork
50 Slides in
50 Minutes—(p.s. It can’t be done…)

Sunday, February 12th,
Fort Mason, Fleet Room (across the street from Festival Pavillion entrance) 10 AM, Free

 Coffee will be served

Well-known writer and teacher of African art, Dr. Herbert Cole was among the first art historians to write primarily from his own fieldwork.   Although his first love has been the arts of West Africa, he has increasingly been able to take a “big picture” view of multiple cultures, describing how art objects and rituals — especially masquerades — make belief systems visible and help order human society.

Cole’s talk features highlights of his fieldwork and exhibitions plus some of his pet peeves and crazy experiences — and stunning photographs: objects, art and architecture in African life and ceremony in NIgeria, Ghana, Mali, Cote d’Ivoie and Kenya.

Curator of twelve exhibitions of African art and author, co-author, or editor of nine books, Cole was the recipient of a Leadership Award, for lifetime achievement, by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association in 2001.

As an emeritus professor, lecturing and consulting a bit and sometimes advising museums such as the de Young, “Skip” Cole founded a “friends of Africa” group in Santa Barbara to raise money for varied NGOs headquartered there. Among his favorite pastimes, as Kofi Cole, is whittling exquisite miniatures of classic African masks and figures, with amazing detail and accuracy. These will be on view after his talk (and for sale, benefitting a fellowship set up to honor his son, killed in Uganda two years ago). For a preview of Skip’s carvings, visit on the web.