Art History Exhibition on Display at Fayetteville Public Library

Art History Exhibition on Display at Fayetteville Public Library
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A collaborative exhibition between the U of A Art History Program and the U of A Museum is on display at the Fayetteville Public Library's Lucky Day Gallery through March 30.

Y'akɔfa: Ruptures and Renewals in Art from Ghana and Nigeria joins efforts to broaden, nuance and enrich discourse on African art.

African art traditions have always evolved in the context of change. Janine A. Sytsma, assistant professor of art history, expanded upon this: "U.S. museums tend to focus on African art from before around 1920. [The exhibition] seeks to expand and enrich understandings of African art by highlighting the critical changes and innovations in art from Ghana and Nigeria since independence in 1957 and 1960, respectively."

The exhibition features a selection of works from the University Museum's collections along with and by contemporary artists Jelili Atiku, Uchay Joel Chima, Victor Ekpuk, M.F.A. candidate Vincent Frimpong (Sniper) and Ross Tyron Owusu Jr.

This exhibition was curated by students in Sytsma's course African Art, Museums and Exhibition Practices Seminar.

"The students collaborated on every aspect of the exhibition, deciding on the theme, selecting works for the checklist, conceiving of the design and writing the exhibition content," Sytsma explained.

Larissa Ramey, an M.F.A. photography student in the class, described her experience: "During my art history course on African Art with Dr. Janine Sytsma, I found that the ability to challenge and uphold the value of African art allowed for an excellent investigation of how I can improve the legacy, discourse and gathering of African visual culture and its makers. It was important to highlight not only the unrecorded African artist, but share the contemporary makers, such as two M.F.A. graduates, (Sniper) Vincent Frimpong and Ross Owusu Jr., to show the legacy and need for more art education about Africa and its influence. I am proud that I could learn and collaborate with Dr. Sytsma and my colleagues to share the exhibition Y'akɔfa: Ruptures and Renewals in Art from Ghana and Nigeria. To bring a rich legacy to the community of Fayetteville is an honor."

"It was a very enriching experience working on Y'akofa because it allowed our class to come together as a collective and to engage in important conversations and dialogues in the field of African art," explained Kate Hodgson, a junior honors student. "For many of us, this was the first exhibition that we have had the opportunity to curate, and we were able to learn a lot about practices of interpretation, accessibility and exhibition design. It has been a pleasure to see our conversations translated into an exhibition that allows a large and diverse audience to engage with important works of modern and contemporary African art."

"It was an exciting journey to see the students develop Y'akɔfa, from the early class visits to the University Museum's collections facility to install day," added Laurel Lamb, curator of education and engagement.

Be sure to check out this display by March 30 at the Fayetteville Public Library's Lucky Day Gallery on the second floor. 


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