brown and black painting of animal shapes and figure
Feb. 5 - March 5
Performing African Art: Image, Text, Sound
All-day event
Fine Arts Library

This exhibition presents the works of indigenous African artists who regard their works as a process of rituals, performance and communal interaction. While the product is important as a material embodiment of the creative process, the objects are statements transcending the physical or the visible. The paintings are vessels connecting the bodies of the artists to the realm of invisible powers that control time, space and movement. What the eyes can see in the paintings enable participants to enjoy patterns of music, lyrics of text and lines of movement in nonlinear dimensions. Although the works were produced in sacred spaces of temples and shrines in Africa, their display in secular contexts of galleries, museums and libraries does not reduce from the spiritual benefits that the artists want viewers to enjoy. As the head of artists, Egbeyemi Akingbade, said in 2002, “The works transform the space of display into a court of the divinities, a gallery of spiritual blessings.” Embedded into the wet paints are songs, oral literatures, and choreographic sketches that activate the images into multimedia objects beyond visual dimensions. All the materials used in producing the paintings are natural soils, with references to the land as the mother that unites humans, plants, animals, mountains and the air into one organic and indivisible whole. The works enable the artists, who are all women, to refer to themselves as “beautifiers and healers,” and to conceptualize their creativity as “art for earth’s sake.”


Exhibit dates: February 5 – May 5, 2018

Video screening dates: February 5-9, 2018

Exhibition curated in partnership with Moyo Okediji, Professor of Art and Art History.