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Art Diary

Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time web app

19 June 2020

While many museums remain shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibitions will include shows at institutions that are now reopening as well as digital projects providing virtual access to art and culture.

This exhibition of some 250 objects from Africa and Europe explores the exchange of art, ideas and gold along the trade routes of the Sahara in the Middle Ages. It opened at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston in January 2019 before touring to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto; a final stop was scheduled to open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., in April (the museum does not yet have a reopening date). With a full tour of the exhibition through text and images, and analysis of key objects, the Block Museum’s new digital platform – a web browser application, optimised for mobile but also available on desktop, which can be downloaded for use offline – provides a streamlined way of exploring the display. You can explore the app here (and here’s Kathleen Bickford Berzock’s article for Apollo on putting the exhibition together).

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

'Caravans of Gold' app viewed on a smartphone.

‘Caravans of Gold’ app viewed on a smartphone. Image courtesy Chris Diaz, digital publishing librarian at Northwestern University Libraries

Map depicting medieval trans-Saharan trade routes, from the ‘Caravans of Gold’ mobile app

Seated Figure (late 13th–14th century), possibly Ife, Nigeria.

Seated Figure (late 13th–14th century), possibly Ife, Nigeria. Courtesy National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria

Virgin and Child, France

Virgin and Child (c. 1275–1300), France. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York