An exhibit of work from African American artists and their connection to African Art
opened Feb. 9 during a reception and artist lecture as part of the Black History Month
activities at San Diego Mesa College.
Pieces from Mesa’s African Art Collection will be displayed along with work from three African American artists – San Diego
based Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Los Angeles and Oakland based Andrea Chung, and New York based Robert Pruitt.
“Chung, Hinkle and Pruitt create work that represents the Black body and inscribes
it with meaning through the use of historical images, references to African art and
symbolism,” said Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director at Mesa College. “Their work
establishes a dialogue that both deconstructs and demystifies gender and race.”
Developed as a way of making connections for students between African artifacts, the
history of slavery and artists working in various mediums today, the exhibit is helping
students at Mesa to see African and African American history through art.
“Students feel like they don’t have a ‘history’ that goes beyond slavery, they feel
like there is this disconnect – they ask where are the cultural traditions that we
know are thousands of years old,” said Denise Rogers, Manager of the African Art Collection
and professor of Art History at Mesa College. “Working with Alessandra and Andrea,
we were able to bring together artists who also recognize that these traditions, cultural
practices and ways of being that are already there.”
The African Art Collection was started in the late 1970s by Dr. Barbara Blackman and
has since “grown to nearly 1,000 pieces from throughout the continent” of African.
Though some of the pieces were produced to sell to tourists, many of the pieces in
the collection were used by various peoples in Africa, according to Rogers.
“The artifacts in the African Art collection, some dating as far back as the 16th century, enter into conversation with the works of these contemporary artists and
in doing so, they reassert their cultural and artistic influence on African American
art,” Moctezuma said. “Together, this visual ensemble from the past and the present
both illuminates and offers insights into the African American experience.”
The exhibit will be on display at the Mesa College Art Gallery until March 1. The
gallery is open Mondays through Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from
1 to 8 p.m. Pieces from the African Art Collection can be seen year-round in the glass
gallery exhibit in the LRC.
For more information regarding this exhibit and the African Art Collection at San Diego Mesa College, contact Denise Rogers email@example.com or (619) 388-2371.
Tags: Black History Month, African Art, Black Studies