iAfrica

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
iAfrica App Poster Image
Free museum guide has photos, text for 28 African art pieces

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

It is easy to move between the main menu and the displays of the art objects. The lamellophone "thumb piano" feature is responsive and has good sound quality.

 

Violence

A piece features a human figure with nails hammered into the body.

Sex

A few art pieces show topless female figures, but they are pretty abstract.

Language
Consumerism

There is a link to provide feedback to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from the main menu.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that iAfrica is a simple app designed to accompany an art exhibit in Minneapolis. It includes pictures and informational captions for 28 pieces of art from various parts of sub-Saharan Africa. A few of the art pieces have abstract, partial nudity. Some captions discuss mature themes such as spiritual beliefs and colonialism. The app also includes a map showing the origins of the pieces and a picture of an instrument called a lamellophone that plays notes when you tap its keys. There is a link to provide feedback to the museum that asks for an email address and some personal demographic information.

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Is it any good?

With 28 pictures of art pieces and captions, IAFRICA lets you visit a museum exhibit without leaving the house. The exhibit asks people to consider five aspects of the art objects and arranges them into corresponding categories: how the art objects were used in society (ethnographic); how they smell, sound, and feel (sensorial); how they fit into the history of African art (history); how the objects came to the museum (provenance), and what makes them beautiful (aesthetic).

Like many museums, though, the app is heavy on conveying information, with only one interactive feature (playing the lamellophone). In addition, this app was designed for people already visiting the iAfrica exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, so sometimes there are references to museum-only features. But the exhibit does make a good attempt to expand the ways people think about and interact with art from Africa, and the text does a good job explaining how issues like colonialism and tourism can complicate the production and collection of art.

App details

For kids who love learning

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