Meet the Curator: NCMA African Art Gallery

Meet the Curator: NCMA African Art Gallery



I really want people to understand that there are different and very discrete parts of the entire very large continent of Africa there are 54 countries my curatorial vision for the gallery started with the observation that people weren't understanding either themes or Geographic sections within the collection you're going to see a lot of space around objects so that you can focus on them and then you're going to see series of objects together that share stylistic parallels so that you can really start to appreciate African art as an artistic object that has somebody's artistic vision behind it the zones have been divided up into rough Geographic sections and then we also have a central platform for masquerade so you really get the sense of moving around a group of objects that all would have been performed and then as you move to the back of the galleries you really see contemporary work and that will be changing every year so hopefully people will come back and see that contemporary African art has a real depth in the NCMA collection we have a new wall that's focusing on the work of north carolina collectors and that will rotate every year year and a half and our first rotation is the Bennett College collection of African art we're really excited because they have some world-class objects in their collection I'm an objects person I confess I get really excited about be able to look closely at objects and so I hope that a lot of people will share that excitement with me being able to really come up to objects and see them and notice similarities between these earplugs and that mat rack and noticing that the same patterns are there the same small mark the same geometry for instance I hope that people share in my delight of African art objects as objects it's the fact that there are these connections between media that I think as a ceramics expert I never got to look at before like what is the connection to the masquerade tradition what is the connection to the carving tradition what is the connection to the way that contemporary artists are thinking about the earth and thinking about land and incorporating a little bit of the earth in their paint in order to make that symbolic connection to their ancient roots those connections between media are something that people can really make in this gallery we used to have 65 objects out in the African gallery at any one time and there are a hundred twenty-five out now and over the next three years total there are going to be a hundred and seven new objects that are either loans new acquisitions or things that have been in storage so people are going to see objects that they'd never see before or notice objects that they just never had the chance to notice before it's going to be very exciting

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