The Kennedy Center

African Room

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The African Room is a reception room for dignitaries, donated to the Kennedy Center by the nations of Africa. It is located on the box tier of the Opera House, opposite the South Opera Lounge.

One of the most striking objects in the room is a wooden sculpture, Mother Earth, Condolences to You from Ghana. She represents the Africans' grief over the death of President Kennedy. At the back left hand corner of the Lounge is set of double doors depicting native village scenes. The doors are 12 feet high and were carved from one 700 year old tree.

These calabashes, carved and painted, serve both aesthetic and utilitarian functions. They are used as fish floats, serving and mixing bowls, and to print cloth like that hanging on the wall. (Point to Adinkra cloth.) This cloth symbolizes mourning over the death of President Kennedy.

The wall hangings are all from African nations and represent traditional styles passed down through many generations. At the entrance to the smaller reception room are wooden doors, which were carved from a 700-year-old tree in Nigeria. The carving depicts life in the village where the sculptor was born.