Skip to Main Content
Tags for: Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art
  • Lecture

Mask, early 1900s. Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yaka people. Wood, cloth, fibers, pigment; h. 47 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Katherine C. White, 1969.8

Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 6:00–7:00 p.m.
Location: Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

Co-presented by Womens Council and Friends of African and African American Art
Open to the public and free; no registration required.

Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, curator of African art, previews the upcoming exhibition Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art, on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art from October 20, 2019, to March 8, 2020. Highlighting a selection of exemplary objects from the CMA’s African art collection, the exhibition also features loans of works by six significant contemporary African artists. Conceived as a conceptual dialogue between two rubrics of African art, this landmark exhibition considers the staying power of historical African art as well as the dynamism that has recently accompanied emergent artistic practices in Africa. The exhibition examines the status of canonical African art objects when they begin their “second careers” upon entering museum collections. Second Careers simultaneously explores contemporary modes of artistic production in Africa that employ mediums that once served other purposes in everyday life. This continent-wide practice of reusing or repurposing materials is emblematic of modern life in postcolonial Africa and easily invokes the quotidian role that art objects historically played in traditional African societies. Thus, focusing more on the conceptual connection between the two contexts of African art, the exhibition considers how contemporary African artists from different generations draw inspiration from and seek transformative encounters with the historical canon. These contexts provide a critical understanding of African art, past and present.