Over the centuries, a dialogue evolved across the Atlantic as Africans came to the New World and blacks from America returned to their continent of origin. An aesthetic conversation has recently developed between African and African American artists as they work from different perspectives to reconcile their African identity and heritage within the currents of contemporary art. This exhibition explores the varied ways that African and African American artists interpret their ideas and identities. Similarities of style as well as diversity of expression emerge from a shared African heritage.
Color, pattern and rhythm, improvisation and spiritual awareness are some of the elements found in the work of these artists. Many explore the performatory aspects of culture through music or ritual suggestions. Some artists respond to environmental and historical circumstances in their work. Most acknowledge a sense of spirituality that echoes older African sensibilities. Perhaps it is telling that the works in this exhibition cannot easily be identified as either African or African American; they are all part of the same aesthetic conversation.