Published: June 27, 2000
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – The Indianapolis Museum of Arts Eiteljorg Gallery of African Art will reopen August 19. Closed since November 1999, the Eiteljorg Gallery is reopening in conjunction with the IMA’s annual AfricaFest celebration of African and African-American heritage.
“We look at the continent as a whole,” says Ted Celenko, IMA curator of African, South Pacific and Pre-Columbian art. “The new IMA presentation incorporates art of Northern Africa, including ancient Egypt and Nubia, with the art of Western, Central, Southern and Eastern Africa.”
Although most of the objects displayed are form the past 100 years, the IMAs new presentation encompasses 1.7 million years of African culture, from stone tools of the Paleolithic period found in Eastern Africa to works created by contemporary African artists.
The bulk of the IMA’s collection was a gift of 1,200 artworks from Mr and Mrs Harrison Eiteljorg in 1989, establishing the IMA as the home of one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of sub-Saharan African art. The collection, which includes woodcarvings, ceramics, costumes, jewelry and paintings, has since grown to more than 2,000 objects. Over 420 of these pieces will be on display in the re-created Eiteljorg Gallery.
The new presentation highlights three major themes: the diversity of African cultures, the connections among African cultures and the change and dynamism of African cultures. The diversity will be emphasized by examining the many different ideals of personal beauty, governance and language evident throughout Africa. The connections will be made by showing the cultural and historical features shared by African peoples in different regions. Thirdly, an exploration of African history will demonstrate change and dynamism throughout the long and rich history of Africa from the time of ancient Egypt and Nubia to contemporary African artists.
A new feature of the gallery will be the Eiteljorg Gallery of Special Exhibitions, which will present temporary exhibitions of African art. From August 19, 2000 through August 19, 2001, “Contemporary African Art: Five Artists, Diverse Trends” will feature 26 works by five contemporary sculptors and painters from Africa. The artists hail from diverse regions of Africa: Ezrom Legae from South Africa, Magdalene Odundo from Kenya, Twins Seven-Seven from Nigeria, Kane Kwei from Ghana and Mariam A. Aleem from Egypt.
Also, the Eiteljorg Gallery of South Pacific Art will reopen with a fresh new look. The new South Pacific gallery will feature 55 objects representing Melanesia and Polynesia, including a number of works on loan from the collection of Samuel Josefowitz.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1200 West 38th Street, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am to 8:30 pm; and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.
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