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About the Curator, William Hommel

Dr. William HommelDr. William Hommel received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from Indiana University, working with Dr. Roy Sieber. He has worked with African Collections at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Museum of African Art in Washington D.C., the Kirkpatrick Center in Oklahoma City and Chambers Library at the University of Central Oklahoma.

William Hommel with African maskHe taught African art at the University of Maryland for 10 years and the University of Central Oklahoma for 25 years.

Dr. Hommel's research focused on the meanings of the rituals and art created by the Mende. Many of these rituals had not previously, nor subsequently, been documented. The images also include creative practices such as carving, weaving, net and fish trap making.

Dr. Hommel is emeritus faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma and continues to contribute to intellectual life, most recently working with the African collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Because of the civil war that ravaged Sierra Leone from 1991-2002, many aspects of the traditional village life that thrived for 2,500 years have been destroyed or changed forever. The images are an irreplaceable snapshot of that time and place.

Read Dr. Hommel's dissertation abstract from Indiana University, 1981: