Galleries welcome African art, African artist
The art galleries at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside come alive with two separate exhibitions of art from Africa. The exhibition "West African Art from the Mathis Collection" is shown in the Fine Arts Gallery beginning Saturday, Jan. 28. In the Foundation Gallery, Liberian artist Catherine Kennedy's "Contemporary Journeys" opens Tuesday, Jan. 17. Both galleries are located in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities at 900 Wood Rd. in Kenosha.
Drawn from the collection of Racine's Emile Mathis, "West African Art" features 50 traditional ceremonial objects from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, and Nigeria. More than two dozen ceremonial masks associated with numerous tribal rituals as well as figurative sculptures linked to veneration of ancestors, healing, and supernatural practices are in the exhibition.
"This exhibition provides audiences with an introduction to West African art and gives us a forum to discuss how African art is interpreted and understood by Western audiences," said UW-Parkside Gallery Director and Curator Patricia Briggs. "It also gives us the chance to see the different ways African artists create and use their art."
Briggs went on to say UW-Parkside faculty members from various disciplines have been invited to share their knowledge of African art and culture during the exhibition which continues through March 10, 2012.
Catherine Kennedy's exhibition "Contemporary Journeys" chronicles her migration from Liberia through Ivory Coast to the United States.
"[Her] work explores the artist's experiences as a displaced person and addresses contemporary and historical paths between the Americas and West Africa, including the slave and sugar trades but also the paths that bring African refugees and migrants to the United States," Briggs explained.
Pieces include abstracted maps, small wax masks, video footage, and sculptural objects the artist calls "belly bowls" and "gut balls." The exhibition runs only from Jan. 17 to Feb. 9, 2012, in the UW-Parkside Foundation Gallery.
Both exhibitions are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays noon to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m. They are also open by appointment. Gallery admission is free.For more information or to arrange a tour, call 262-595-2521.