Digging further into “Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa”

earth-matters-1-newsThe Museum continues to celebrate this major exhibition dedicated to the arts of Africa with a strong roster of programming this month. Dedicated to exploring the use and representation of the earth, both as a physical medium and as an intellectual, political, and personal construct, Earth Matters provides an important opportunity to consider our own relationship to the world around us locally and globally.

Two mid-day gallery talks in the first part of the month provide special opportunities to look closely at works on view. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, February 2 as Oscar Mokeme, the founder of the Museum of African Culture in Portland, offers his thoughts about his favorite works in the exhibition. On Tuesday, February 16, come hear David Gordon, professor of history at Bowdoin College, who will discuss the cultural and religious significance of works from central Africa.

Two evening programs in the second half of the month bring together a range of perspectives on the engagement of the arts of Africa by contemporary artists, museum professionals, educators, and architects. On Wednesday, February 17, we invite you to hear from artist David Driskell, who joins Johnnetta Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (NMAfA), in conversation with Karen Milbourne, curator at NMAfA, and the organizer of Earth Matters. The Museum’s formal programming concludes on Wednesday, February 24 with a panel that will address what it has meant to create the first girls’ boarding school in the rural Misungwi District in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania. The co-founders of the school, Aimée Bessire, visiting associate professor, art and visual culture, Bates College, and Mark Bessire, director, Portland Art Museum, come together with architects Pamela W. Hawkes and T. Scott Teas of Scattergood Design, to speak about this important educational institution.

earth-matters-2-newsThe Museum is pleased that Earth Matters resonates closely with this year’s Camden Conference, dedicated to “The New Africa,” February 19 – 21, which will further frame important political, environmental, and social topics associated with the nations, resources, and peoples of Africa.

Through these different events, we look forward to exploring further the history, art, and culture of Africa!

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