By Nina Kendall
Centuries ago relationships among Africa, Europe, and the Americas created a region referred to as the Atlantic World. A web of historic, cultural, and economic connections bind these continents together. Africa Atlanta is a series of events throughout 2014 that highlight the connections between Africa, Europe, and the Americas and how they can be positively developed for the future. This program was organized by the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology in collaboration with the Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta. Events focusing on the arts, education, business, and global affairs will be hosted in the city of Atlanta this year with the support of partner organizations like the Georgia Humanities Council.
One event that truly the highlight the connections between the continents is the exhibit, KONGO across the WATERS, available for viewing until September 21, 2014 at Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. This exhibit brings art and artifacts from the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida, and from collections across the United States to Atlanta. This exhibit fluidly combines art and history. As you walk through the exhibit, you get a chance to enjoy centuries of art ranging from 16th century images to 20th century carvings and learn about the evolution of the form in different regions of the world.
Having lived in the South, this exhibit was a walk down memory lane. Art forms and traditions common to the region displayed with their cultural roots. Face jugs and funeral practices illustrated the deep cultural connects between the southeastern United States and the Kongo peoples of western Central Africa. Art and artifacts revealed the influence of diverse cultures whose history in the United States is not well preserved. Unique inclusions in this exhibit for viewers young and old are short fictional stories based on archeological findings, history, and traditional forms. This exhibit engages the viewer in thinking about how to identify and trace the influences of diverse cultures in the history of the region.
Other exhibits that are part of the effort around the city include the events below. Take the time to check out the schedule and take in part of Africa Atlanta
· The Art of Bernard Williams & Exhibition Opening Lecture with Artist at Booth Western Art Museum
· Nnenna Okore: Fibers of Being at Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University
· Esoteric Lore: Rights of Passage at Whitespace Gallery and Central Library Atlanta-Fulton
· Brides of Anansi: Fiber and Contemporary Art at Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts
· Sam Nhlengethwa, “Life, Jazz and Lots of Other Things” – An Exhibition at Savannah College of Art & Design