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The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions--Photos on exhibit at NLM

To celebrate African American History Month, 2004, the National Library of Medicine has on exhibit a collection of photographs from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The photographs are on display from February 2 to February 27 in the lobby of the Library's Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (Building 38A on the National Institutes of Health campus).

This unprecedented exhibition of photographs by journalist Margaret Courtney-Clarke pays tribute to living African artistic traditions that have been passed down through women. Created over a period of more than twenty years, the photographs in this exhibition comprise a survey of the entire corpus of Courtney-Clarke's documentary journeys in rural South, West and North Africa. These stunning images pay homage to the beauty that rural African women-as artists and entrepreneurs-create in their daily lives for themselves, their families and their communities, often in the face of ongoing social, political and economic challenges, disruption and upheaval.

Margaret Courtney-Clarke, who was born and raised in Namibia, introduced this body of work in her books: Ndebele, African Canvas and Imazighen. The photographs in this exhibition present a range of African interior and exterior housing design, pottery, textiles, beadwork, personal adornment and other decorative arts.

This is the fourth year that the National Library of Medicine has featured photographs from the Schomburg collection. Visitors to the National Library of Medicine (on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland) are reminded that heightened security measures are in effect. Information about these is at //