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West and Central African Art

Virginia Union’s collection of African art began with a 200 piece donation by Dr. and Mrs. James Sellman in 1988.  The Sellmans acquired their extensive collection while traveling to Africa for medical conferences (Dr. Sellman is a psychiatrist) and for leisure travel. This core collection made possible the opening of the VUU Museum in 1990.  The Sellman Collection of African Art contains masks, statues, musical instruments, weapons, door locks, and other objects from throughout West and Central Africa.   Also represented is a collection of Coptic Crosses from the East African nation of Ethiopia.  The collection additionally holds objects donated from the private collections of attorney and former State Delegate Jean Cunningham and noted Civil Rights Movement leader and VUU graduate Rev. Wyatt T. Walker.


Standing Figure, Mumuye Group, Nigeria
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James Sellman



Chi Wara Masks, Bamana Group, Mali
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James Sellman



 Standing Figure, Dogon Group, Mali
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James Sellman