For release: May 24, 2010
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843
An inaugural exhibition, Art in the Land of Sundiata, is now on display at the redesigned gallery Africa: Visual Arts of a Continent at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis. The exhibition’s development, design,
and installation were supported by gifts from anonymous donors as well as an award
from the First Tennessee Foundation.
The AMUM collection in the newly reopened gallery features objects from five culture
groups in Western Sudan: the Dogon, Bamana, Senufo, Marka, and Lobi. The art in this
exhibition is a small part of the 2008 gift from Martha and Robert Fogelman that includes
tradition-based objects representing several cultural groups of West and Central Africa.
The gallery will display examples of the culturally and visually varied field of African
art while supporting a new graduate-level art history concentration in the arts of
Africa and the African Diaspora.
The diversity of the collection will enable AMUM to host exhibitions that address
major themes in African art and Africa’s visual culture, including the study of the
continent’s traditional art and Africans’ encounters with the West and the influence
on Africans of the Diaspora, the dispersion and modification of African cultures throughout
and beyond the continent of Africa.
The study of African art encompasses a number of academic disciplines, including anthropology,
art history, and the visual and performing arts of music, dance, and theater.
For more information, call Leslie Luebbers, director of AMUM, at 901-678-2224.
Attending the opening of the inaugural exhibition in the gallery Africa: Visual Arts
of a Continent at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis were, from left, Earnestine
Jenkins, U of M professor of art history and director of the M.A. concentration in
the arts of Africa and the African Diaspora; Mary Jo Arnoldi, curator for African
ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History; Shirley
Raines, president of the U of M; Leslie Luebbers, director of AMUM; Mikelle Smith
Omari-Tunkara, art history professor at the University of Arizona and holder of the
Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in art history at the U of M, and Lesley
Ferris, arts and humanities Distinguished Professor in Theatre at Ohio State University.
Jenkins, Arnoldi, Ferris, and Omari-Tunkara were guest speakers for the event.