May 31, 2010
The Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) has organized a new African Art exhibit that is amazing. A walk through the exhibit moves the emotions, interests the brain and tickles the imagination.
The curator who put the exhibit together, Nii Quarcoopome, born in Ghana, worked on it and thought about it for 10 years. His devotion and enthusiasm shines through. He wanted to organize the exhibit to inspire visitors to think in new ways. He succeeded.
The exhibit looks at two cultures – African and European – and how African artists viewed their “relationship” over time.
There are magnificent works from different African countries. The time period each work came from is explained.
The descriptions that accompany the roughly 100 pieces of art are enlightening. It is important to read them to fully appreciate the exhibit. The descriptions get the viewer thinking and questioning, comparing the past to today.
The human relationships between Africans and Europeans and between different social classes within Africa are explained.
The beginning of the exhibit shows a period of beneficial exchanges between two cultures. The exhibit then goes on to expose the slave trade, colonial oppression, then modern day imperialism.
The exhibit is at its best when demonstrating art created for dual purposes – subtly mocking those in power while offering a beautiful piece for sale to a wealthy buyer. The exhibit has many pieces like this. Some will make you laugh.
The art brings us up to recent history, with a very political piece ridiculing the education system under Apartheid in South Africa.
Walking through the exhibit, viewing through African eyes – most will feel changed by the experience.
The exhibit will be in Detroit until August 8, 2010. After that it will be in Kansas City, MO.
An exhibit as wonderful as this should not be missed!