By Kirstyn Brendlen | Brooklyn Paper

A new cultural and historical exhibition, “Brooklyn is Africa,” opened to the public at Brooklyn Borough Hall last week, and is on display through next Monday to honor the African diaspora in Brooklyn.

“As home to the largest population of Africans in the United States, it is Brooklyn’s pride and obligation to celebrate this rich and diverse history that’s still omnipresent in our communities,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso in a release.

“Further, we are honored that our first event open to the public at-large is featuring pieces from the Eric Edwards collection, someone who has dedicated his life to the preservation of this history right here in Brooklyn.”

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nullEric Edwards, founder of the Cultural Museum of African Art, looks at a sculpture at the “Brooklyn is Africa” exhibit now on display at Brooklyn Borough Hall.Courtesy of the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

The exhibition features a selection of historic artifacts curated by the beep and Eric Edwards, the owner of the collection and founder of the Cultural Museum of African Art. Chosen from more than 3,000 items in Edwards’ collection, the Borough Hall exhibition focuses on three main themes: maternity, celebrating mothers and birth; music, honoring an important method of communication and ceremony; and awareness, featuring artifacts used in ceremonial initiation when boys became men and girls women.

Brooklyn is Africa,” a display of cultural and historic artifacts honoring the African diaspora in Brooklyn, is on display now through March 21 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Courtesy of the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

Each theme is tied to a mission of the beep’s office during his tenure, according to his office, including reducing maternal mortality rates in the borough.

Pieces featured in the exposition include “Standing Maternity,” a 20th century statue created by the Dogon people of Mali communicating the importance of the maternal figure in society and a “Poro Secret Society” mask used during a Baule ceremony marking a boy becoming a man in the mid-20th century Ivory Coast.

“The Cultural Museum of African Art appreciates Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso’s commitment to the African contributions in the areas of art, culture, science, and history,” Edwards said in a release. “We look forward to elevating Brooklyn to a new awareness, commemorating the end of Black History Month and celebrating Woman’s History Month in March. The goal of our exhibition at Brooklyn Borough Hall is to make the peoples of the diaspora cognizant of our contributions, value systems, which leads to righteousness and the protective care of our ancestors. The messages they are whispering through the artifacts leads to us giving nurture to all standing amongst us.”

brooklyn is africa
Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso plays a drum at the opening reception of “Brooklyn is Africa,” on display at Brooklyn Borough Hall through March 21.Courtesy of the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

The exhibit is open to visitors on weekdays from 10 am-4 pm with reservations, and walk-ins are accepted each day from 1-2pm.