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African art exhibit opens at Belk Library - May 10

Students from an art history class at Elon University will be hosting an exhibit titled African Art: Then and Now in West Africa.

Photo of "Ore Mu Vbogeo" by Bruce Onobrakpeya (courtesy of the Guilford College Art Gallery)

A student-organized exhibition on the second floor of Elon University's Belk Library celebrates African art and the public is invited to attend its May 10 opening.

The exhibit uses works from the collections of Elon University and Guilford College. It is organized in a compare-and-contrast format with an object selected from the Elon or Guilford collections paired with another object, represented by photograph, as the comparison.

By juxtaposing so-called “traditional” and contemporary African art, the exhibition will consider cultural practices within certain ethnic groups and how these have informed contemporary artists’ styles, subject matter and conceptual framework.

The formal opening takes place Friday, May 10, from 3-4 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.

Objects include masks, sculptures in wood and bronze, glass beads and a bronze lino relief. The exhibition explores themes that included the creation of new art forms to appeal to the tourist trade (see the Lion by Binufu Konyate from Burkina Faso and the Leopard from the Cameroon Grasslands), the adoption and application of Western techniques and ideologies to African forms in contemporary African art (see Bruce Onobrakpeya’s relief from Nigeria), and the loss of one type of masquerade and the invention of another due to the influence of Islam (see the two Bamana Chi Wara crest masks from Mali).

This exhibition was organized by Katherine Hodges, Phil Nakagami, and David Turner from the ARH 341 "African Art: Then and Now in West Africa" course led by Courtnay Micots, an assistant professor of art history, with assistance from Jessica Solender, Kelsey Incrovato, Chelsea Banaszek, Brittany Graham and Chase Ward from the GST 310 "The Museum Collection" course led by Ethan Moore.

The exhibition continues through November 1. 

The exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Terry Hammond, director and curator of the Guilford College Art Gallery. A grant from Elon University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning funded the exhibition and opening reception.

For more information, contact exhibit organizers Katherine Hodges at khodges2@elon.edu, Phil Nakagami at pnakagami@elon.edu, or David Turner at dturner7@elon.edu.

Eric Townsend,
5/7/2013 8:00 AM