West Africa

paa joe
Paa Joe created large-scale, painted wood sculptures that represent architectural models of Gold Coast castles and forts, which served as way stations for more than six million Africans sold into slavery and sent to the Americas and the Caribbean between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Paa Joe: Gates of No Return

mama wata
This large sculpture was made for Mami Wata, pidgin English for “Mother of Water," a charismatic being of great spiritual power celebrated in West and Central Africa and reimagined as deities such as La Sirene (Haitian Vodou) and Yemanjá (Candomblé and Umbanda) in Afro-Atlantic spiritual traditions.

“Mami Wata” figure, Igbo artist

Djingareyber Mosque, built 1327, Timbuktu, Mali. Two tombs at this mosque were attacked by Islamic extremists in 2012. (photo: Johannes Zielcke, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a center for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries


This tomb bears testimony to the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through its control of the trans-Saharan trade, notably in salt and gold

Tomb of Askia

wassu grid
The site consists of four large groups of stone circles that represent an extraordinary concentration of over 1,000 monuments

Stone circles of Senegambia

Loropeni grid
with its imposing stone walls, Loropéni is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade

Ruins of Loropéni

From 1625 to 1900, 12 kings succeeded one another at the head of the powerful Kingdom of Abomey (in Benin)—and they built palaces.

Royal palaces of Abomey