Writing Art History Since 2002

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Iziko Museums of South Africa have asked friends, family and visitors to share their diverse Rites of Passage experiences


Between 1962 and 1964, a young boy discovered strange pieces of pottery eroding out of a gully in Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Although the fragments were not formally excavated, most pieces were found and reconstructed to make up seven clay heads – collectively known as the Lydenburg Heads. This exhibition revisits these African treasures and the interesting symbols that adorn them – ultimately bringing into conversation the notion of Rites of Passage.

Iziko Museums of South Africa is the custodian of the Lydenburg Heads, and this online showcase pre-empts a physical exhibition of the artefacts – which will be opened at the Iziko South African Museum in the near future.

In this showcase, Iziko is sharing two videos about the Lydenburg Heads and Rites of Passage, as well as hosting a living memory bank.

Iziko invites friends, family and visitors to help us bring these artefacts to life by sharing diverse stories of Rites of Passage experiences; these stories will be shared online, and will later be included in the physical exhibition at the Iziko South African Museum.

Through Looking A Head: Revisiting the Lydenburg Heads, Iziko explores how museums and the artefacts they house can become more inclusive, and how that inclusivity can help bring the artefacts to life.

Download your educational resource for Looking A Head in celebration of International Museum Day HERE

Download your animal power worksheet HERE

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