Bringing Africa Home
by Kimberly Bailey-Tureaud
A resident of Las Vegas since she arrived here from Missouri in 1964, longtime educator Helen Anderson Toland’s love of Africa leads her to visit the continent twice a year. For her, a primary driving force is a passion for collecting statues and other forms of art originating in the motherland. Anyone who has seen the former Kit Carson Elementary School principal’s home knows this to be true: She recently had two life-sized statues shipped in from Zimbabwe, which she now proudly displays in her front yard.
“I don’t know how to put it, but everyone has a passion — and this African art is mine,” she says. “I put the statues in my yard because I am happy to share them, and to show people the great things that are in Africa. So often, we don’t get to hear, touch, and see the greatness that comes out of Africa. We don’t get the positive information, mostly the negative.”
As we celebrate Black History Month, the artifacts take on an even greater significance. “It is important that we celebrate Black History Month by viewing this wonderful art,” says Anderson Toland, “because we can see with our own eyes, and feel with our hands, something that is real from Africa.”