African art takes center stage in gallery

A reception was held Wednesday.
Photo Submitted by Andy Jean-Baptiste

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s visual arts program, Fine Arts Collection, unveiled its second art exhibition of the semester, “Perceptions: Encounters with African Art.”

The exhibition examines some of the ways Western cultures have and continue to interpret African art and culture in a variety of ways as an example to stimulate conversations around these misunderstandings and potential resolutions.

The opening reception was held Wednesday. The exhibit, located in FAMU’s School of Architecture gallery, will be open until Nov. 8.

The pieces in the exhibit were made by the students enrolled in the visual arts studio and fine arts programs. The pieces were inspired by African art, with research conducted by the African art history class.

The exhibit was curated by Professor Courtnay Micots, assistant professor of art history. Micots received a doctorate in African Art at the University of Florida.

One of the items in the exhibit was a belt from an unknown African artist. It was a belt made with ivory. The exportation of ivory is illegal in Africa, however it still remains popular and is continuously smuggled through China, the United States and countries in Europe.

The first time an exhibit like this was shown was spring 2017, where the exhibit was held in the Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery. Micots intended for the exhibit to in the same location, but the gallery was not available.

There was a certain piece that seemed to grab people’s attention, and it was “Figure on a Bicycle.”

Akin Johnson, a student in the African art history class, said: “I selected this piece to research because I was drawn to the figure’s facial features and long, pointed head.”

Micots thought of a way to keep the viewers engaged with the gallery by adding a little task to the exhibit.

Viewers had to get two sticky notes and pick a piece they found intriguing. On one sticky note they were told to write what they think about the piece before they read the description, and then the other note was for what they thought after they read the description.

“It was exciting to work with all professors and students to exhibit the student artwork, along with the fine arts collection, in order to examine our perception about African art and culture,” Micots said.