Inside the Brooklyn Apartment Packed with $10 Million in African Art

"The Collector", a new documentary short by New York City-based filmmaker Mark Zemel, tells the story of Eric Edwards, a former AT&T executive who keeps a 1,600-piece collection of African art in his Clinton Hill apartment (alongside smaller-scale collections of baseball cards, antique clocks, and over 40,000 LPs). Zemel's documentary is as much about Edwards's artifacts as it is about the lengths he'll go to acquire them. Like the Cameroonian ceremonial helmet that Edwards bought, on the condition that Cameroonian emissaries could perform a ceremony with it inside his apartment. "If it's within my grasp, and I know that's something I want, I go after it with full voracity," he says. Edwards's African collection includes tools, ceremonial masks, and weapons, and has been accumulating for the past 44 years and counting. The collection represents all 54 countries in Africa, with artifacts dating back to the Nubian empire. Edwards estimates that the lot is worth $10 million. His Nigerian Palace Drum will go on display at the Met on May 20th—the second of Edwards's Nigerian drums to join the museum's collection.

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