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Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue is open!

Kepi in Bree Street

Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko
born 1977, South Africa
Kepi in Bree Street
2006
From the Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder series
Digital print with pigment dyes on cotton paper
42 x 29 cm (16 9/16 x 11 7/16 in.)
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, purchased with funds provided by the Annie Laurie Aitken Endowment, 2011-7-1.4
Photograph by Franko Khoury

One of the world’s preeminent private collections of African American art has its first public viewing currently at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue brings together artworks from two world-class collections: the National Museum of African Art and the Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr. Collection. The exhibition remains on view through early 2016, and is a major part of the museum’s 50th anniversary, celebrating its unique history and contributions toward furthering meaningful dialogue between Africa and the African diaspora.

Conversations presents selected pieces from the Cosby collection, including works by Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Keith Morrison, Faith Ringgold, Augusta Savage, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Alma Thomas. With the exception of one work of art, the Cosby collection has never been loaned or seen publicly and only rarely and selectively published. These and other works of African American art are placed in thematic dialogue with African traditional works of art, including a Kongo female figure with child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a lidded bowl from Nigeria by the Yoruba master artist Olowe of Ise, and a Nuna butterfly mask from Burkina Faso, and with modern and contemporary works of art by artists, including Fodé Camara from Senegal, Godfried Donkor from Ghana, and William Kentridge from South Africa. The exhibition and its accompanying publication are organized to explore intersecting ideas about history, creativity, power, identity, and artistry in ways that resonate with people the world over.

QADAR the Opera

QADAR

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland presents the new Opera QADAR. Composed by award-winning composer, playwright, and pianist Tony Small and commissioned by the National Museum of African Art, QADAR introduces western audiences to the music and culture of Oman through a seamless exchange of African and Arabic music genres. With Denyce Graves serving as Artist Consultant, Qadar: An Operetta for Children uses the vernacular of opera for a cultural exchange between Oman and Zanzibar.