The permanent display exhibits the traditional arts of a number of West African societies and includes authentic objects that belong to the cultures of the Bambara, Dogon, Marka, Malinke, Mosi, Bobo, Kissi, Baga, Dan, Gere, Senoufo, Baule and Ashanti. Exhibited according to material type and geographic provenance, the objects on permanent display reflect the artistic heritage of sedentary communities who based their subsistence on farming and hunting.
The display focuses primarily on masks and sculptures, which are considered to be classical examples of West African traditional art and which are, in their original setting, a crucial element of different religious and social ceremonies. Also exhibited are other cult and magical, decorative and objects for everyday use in wood, as well as ceramics, sculpture in limestone and a representative selection of textiles and musical instruments.
The permanent display was conceptualised by Jelena Aranđelović Lazić (first Museum Director) and designed by architects Slobodan and Saveta Mašić. The “New Permanent Display” whose concept and design were developed, respectively, by Nataša Njegovanović Ristić, art historian and long-time Museum senior curator and Ivan Kucina, architect, will include traditional examples of art of the societies of Central and East Africa, thus achieving the vision of the Museum founders evident in the name of the institution: that the permanent display one day reflects the creativity of the whole continent – Africa.