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SAVANNAH, GA – OCT. 20, 2022 The Savannah African Art Museum announces a new series of free adult education classes, “Becoming Gendered: Gender Identity in Africa”. This three-part series will feature classes “Creating Gender, Making Art”, “Gender through the Igbo Lens”, and “Mukanda Models of Gender”.

Each class will be led by Edwin Hamilton Johnson, Ph.D. and will focus on gender within the context of traditional, sub-Saharan, African societies. Although gender is often defined in terms of biology, this series will focus on the culturally sanctioned and derived nature and significance of gender identity. This lecture series will look at initiation societies, masquerades, and other practices that perpetuate cultural norms relating to gender.

“It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between our cultural norms and the African norms,” Johnson said. “These classes will put into perspective the importance of gender in traditional African societies and how it has shaped their communities.”

“Creating Gender, Making Art” will take place Friday, October 21 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. This class combines a general introduction to the current state of gender studies coupled with how it applies to the analysis of gender within the context of traditional African societies. This is combined with how gender is granted, and norms are perpetuated through initiation societies and professions among a select sampling of traditional African societies.

“Gender through the Igbo Lens” will take place Friday, November 18 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. This class will continue its focus on the subject of gender with a special focus on the Igbo peoples of southeastern Nigeria. It begins with a look at how the novel, Things Fall Apart by the Igbo artist Chinua Achebe, touches upon gender issues within the context of a traditional Igbo community from an Igbo perspective. This lecture also includes how ritual and art is used within traditional Igbo communities to perpetuate gender roles, norms, archetypes and stereotypes within these patriarchal communities.

“Mukanda Models of Gender” will take place Friday, December 30 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. This third and final class in the series focuses on the Mukanda initiation society. Not only is this a look into the initiation society as an institution, it also looks at how it negotiates with the subject of gender. This includes how the Mukanda society disseminates ideal examples of gender types. This lecture also looks at how rituals are used to reinforce cultural norms of behavior and relationships between genders.

Each class is free to the public, with prior registration, and will be held on the second floor of the Upbeat Village Terracotta Gallery, located at 201 East 37th St Savannah, GA 31401. This location is stair access only. An online version of this lecture will be provided through Facebook Live.

For more information or to register for an in-person class, please visit

The Savannah African Art Museum is a non-profit institution devoted to spreading awareness and appreciation of African culture. They hold a collection of over 1,000 objects that hail from West and Central Africa. The museum’s collection spans over 28 countries and represents over 180 cultures. For more information about the museum, access virtual tours, workshops, and initiatives, please visits or follow them on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest using the handle @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.

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For media inquiries, please contact Allie Robinson at allie@lesleyfrancispr.coom or 912-547-3100, or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950.