Dozens of pieces of African art are set to go on display at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library later this week.

Forms and Motifs in African Art: Works from the John R. Dupree Collection will go on display at the library starting on Friday, Feb. 24. The exhibition comes from the John R. Dupree Collection, housed at the College’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, contains more than 150 items of African art, the majority of them in ebony and mahogany.

Dupree began amassing his extensive collection in 1972 while living in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and working for the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Dupree’s living quarters in Kinshasa, the capital city, was close to a major open-air market that he frequented. He acquired African artifacts during the three years he was in Zaire.

Avery Research Center’s collection of African artifacts spans two centuries and originates from various African countries.  Joining the collections of Catherine and James Yatsco, Joseph Towels, Paul Craven, and  Muriel and Marcus Zbar (to name a few), the John R. Dupree collection increases Avery’s value to scholars and artists studying African and Lowcountry retentions, wood/ebony/ivory carvings, rituals, and twentieth century artwork.

The Dupree Collection provides scholars and the general public an opportunity to study and marvel at the strength and beauty of African art and artifacts while acknowledging the creative genius and agency of Africans as it relates to artistic production.

Additionally, the collection significantly enhances Avery Research Center’s holdings in African artifacts and supports the Avery Research Center’s mission of preserving African American heritage and making it more accessible to the broader public.

Addlestone will host an opening reception for the exhibit from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24. RSVP to or 843-953-5530.

To learn more about the Dupree Collection, check out the Friends of the Library.