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Tang First Look: Contemporary African Art

Exciting things are always happening at Skidmore’s Tang Museum, but on Saturday February 5th there will be an event of epic proportions: the opening of Environment and Object – Recent African Arts.

Why is this show so special you may ask? Because this is the first exhibition worldwide to explore the relationship between the environment and current African life through contemporary African artwork. Right now when you think of African art what comes to mind? If it’s beadwork, small wooden sculptures, woven goods, and masks, then I have news for you: you’re about to be blown away.

Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Black Gold I, 2006, Acrylic paint on Dutch wax printed cotton canvas, 130 x 265 inches. National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Museum Purchase, 2008-2-1, Photograph by Franko Khoury

The show will include sculpture, photography, painting, and video installations by today’s hottest African artists. Big names include El Anatsui, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Yinka Shonibare, Bright Ugochukwu Eke, George Osodi, and Nnenna Okore. If you wondered why there were so many water bottle collection stations around campus last semester this is the reason. Bright Ugochukwu Eke along with some student volunteers built a very cool instillation using the collected bottles over winter break.

The show will run from February 5th through July 31, 20011; however, I highly suggest you head to the Tang February 5th at 5pm for the opening reception. Artists Viyé Diba, Bright Ugochukwu Eke, and Barthélémy Toguo will be there along with famed art historian/curator Chika Okeke-Agulu of Princeton University. The show is co-curated by Professor Lisa Aronson of the Art History Department and the Tang’s John Weber. I took Professor Aronson’s Africa in Focus seminar last semester and she showed our class all the art that will be on display and I have to say the works are truly amazing. I urge you to check out this incredible exhibition before it moves on to other schools. I have no doubt this exhibition will change how you think and feel about African art and artists.

For a more detailed description of the exhibition and to see some images, click here.

Related Spring Programs

Saturday, February 5
5 p.m.—Dunkerley Dialogue featuring artists Viyé Diba, Bright Eke, and Barthélémy Toguo and art historian/curator Chika Okeke-Agulu of Princeton University, moderated by exhibition co-curators Lisa Aronson and John Weber
6–7:30 p.m.—Reception for the Tang Museum’s spring exhibitions. Free and open to the public, with refreshments.
Tuesday, February 8
Noon—Exhibition tour with curators Lisa Aronson, Skidmore art history, and John Weber, Tang Dayton Director
Tuesday, March 1
7 p.m.—Dunkerley Dialogue with artist Lara Baladi
Thursday, March 3
7 p.m.—Film showing of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (2008) with co-director Lisa Merton. Co-sponsored by Skidmore’s Environmental Studies Program

Emma Weinstein is a senior at Skidmore College majoring in Art History. She loves being a part of Her Campus Skidmore and has written articles throughout her four years. Emma is an avid equestrian and member of the Riding Team. Other hobbies include travel, cooking, and personal fitness.
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