CLEVELAND, OH (December 17, 2014) – The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has announced that the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of a select group of nonprofit organizations to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The funds will support the upcoming exhibition Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa, the most comprehensive selection of Senufo art to be presented in America in over 50 years.
“The National Endowment for the Arts’ support of Senufo provides the museum with a truly unique opportunity to present a pioneering exhibition for audiences across the region. We’re honored to receive this support and grateful to the NEA for recognizing the exhibition’s outstanding artistic merit, contribution to scholarship, and potential to engage a broad audience,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Organized by Dr. Constantine Petridis, curator of African art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, in collaboration with curatorial advisor Dr. Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi, assistant professor of art history at Emory University, Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa will feature nearly 160 select objects from museums and private collections in Europe, Canada and the United States.
Masks, figures and decorative arts labeled as Senufo have been studied by scholars since the 1930s. Through a selection of extraordinary objects in diverse styles and mediums, Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa examines the ever-evolving definition of the term Senufo. The exhibition investigates the shortcomings of labels tied to cultural or ethnic groups and encourages a closer look at individual objects and their particular histories. The range of visually stunning artworks, as well as the historical depth and geographic range of the scholarship on Senufo art, allows this timely exhibition to stand apart from previous projects on the same topic.
The exhibition will be on view at the museum from February 22 to May 31, 2015, and will subsequently travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum from June 28 to September 27, 2015, and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France, from November 28, 2015, to March 6, 2016.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Cleveland Museum of Art, long acknowledged as a leader in art-museum education, will present programs ranging from Senufo-themed films to a full-day scholarly symposium open to the public.
Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts and the enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The Cleveland Museum of Art was awarded $70,000 to support the exhibition Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa and related community engagement activities.
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