Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
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Exhibitions
"De money series no. 1," (detail) 2009, by George Osodi, born 1974, Nigeria, Fuji crystal archival National Museum of African Art
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa
October 15, 2015 - March 6, 2016
Halford Gallery
Shaw Ruddock Gallery
Media Gallery

Offering a panoramic view of the arts of Africa, the major exhibition Earth Matters brings together approximately sixty exceptional works of art from the nineteenth century to the present. The exhibition focuses on the creative and visual ways in which individuals and communities negotiate relationships with their surrounding land and the world at large. The featured artworks the period from the arrival of colonial interests to the present day, exploring how profound and changing concepts of healing, the sacred, identity, memory, history, and sustainability have been formed in relation to the land. With its emphasis on uncompromising artistic vision, the exhibition links diverse media, including photography, painting, mixed-media assemblage, and time-based media, to reveal how artists have related to the land. Earth Matters features rare artistic treasures from the past, alongside works by internationally renowned and emerging talents from across the continent, including William Kentridge, George Osodi, Sammy Baloji, and Helga Kohl. The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, organized this exhibition.

Download the Family Guide and Lesson Plans, prepared by The National Museum of African Art to accompany the exhibition.

Visit the National Museum of African Art Earth Matters website.

Spring Programming

Gallery Conversation with scholar Oscar Mokeme

February 2, 2016 | 12:00 PM  noon | Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Scholar and collector Oscar Mokeme, the founder of the Museum of African Culture in Portland, discusses favorite works in the exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa.

Film Screening and Discussion: William Kentridge's "Drawings for Projection"

February 4, 2016 | 7:00 PM | Sills Hall, Smith Auditorium

Artist William Kentridge explores the transition of South Africa from apartheid to democracy in ten animated short films. Kentridge imagines the lives of Soho Eckstein and his alter ego, Felix Teitlebaum, as they unfold outside of Johannesburg in a landscape charred by factories and mining. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Sarah Childress, visiting assistant professor of cinema studies; David Gordon, professor of history; and Mark Wethli, A. LeRoy Greason Professor of Art.

Gallery Conversation - Historian David Gordon

February 16, 2016 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | Bowdoin College Museum of Art

David Gordon, Bowdoin College professor of history, discusses the significance of selected objects from central Africa within their original cultural and religious contexts. Gordon is the author of Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History (2012).

David Driskell, Johnetta Cole, and Karen Milbourne Discussion: African Art and the Exhibition Earth Matters

February 17, 2016 | 4:30 PM | Kresge Auditorium

Johnnetta Cole, director, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian
Institution, artist and educator David Driskell H'89, and curator Karen
Milbourne, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, discuss the exhibition Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa and the impact of African art in the United States.

Africa Schoolhouse: Shaping Education Literally and Metaphorically in Tanzania

2/24/2016 | 4:30 PM | Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center

Aimée Bessire, visiting associate professor, art and visual culture, Bates College, and Mark Bessire, Director, Portland Museum of Art, discuss the founding of Africa Schoolhouse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing quality education to rural villages in Northern Tanzania, and the impact of African art in the United States. They will be joined by architects Pamela W. Hawkes and T. Scott Teas, of Scattergood Design, who have worked with the Bessires on the construction of the first girls' boarding school in rural Misungwi District, providing a safe educational environment through sustainable architecture.

"De money series no. 1," 2009, by George Osodi, born 1974, Nigeria, Fuji crystal archival National Museum of African Art
"Once a blue world," 2009 Okereke, born Nigeria.  Color photograph. From the series: "The canal people."

"Untitled" from the series "World Under Pressure," 2011, Aluminum object, by Batoul S’himi, born Morocco.