The Art of the Yaka and Suku

Dr. Arthur P. Bourgeois Memorial

November 17, 2022 - March 31, 2023

Homepage Image for the exhibition The Art of the Yaka and Suku


The Yaka and Suku of the southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring Angola inhabit a vast area between the Kwilu and Kwango Rivers. Some 300,000 Yaka and 80,000 Suku sparsely populate this vast region with an average of from ten to twenty inhabitants per square mile. This is a high sandy plateau of rolling savanna punctuated by an occasional barren steppe.

The Yaka and Suku peoples, though ethnically distinct in some ways, share virtually all of the same types of traditional leadership, initiation, religious practice and social institutions and can be studied as parts of a single cultural whole. This exhibition, the first large-scale public museum show devoted only to the Yaka and Suku allows us a view into the traditional Yaka and Suku world to see its chiefs, diviners and hunters and the objects created by and for them, that animated and empowered their lives.

Scott Rodolitz, Curator