Arts & Entertainment

Exhibition Explores Indigenous African Sculpture in Contemporary Context

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Credits: courtesy of the Merton D. Simpson Gallery
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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Seton Hall University’s Walsh Gallery, in collaboration with the Merton D. Simpson Gallery, will host an opening reception on Thursday, September 17  from 5 to 9pm. “A River Depends on its Tributaries” exhibition features traditional African masks from Merton D. Simpson’s renowned collection, conflated with contemporary drawing, painting and sculpture.  The collection will display from September 8-October 12.

The goal of the exhibition is to articulate aspects of the masks using contemporary art as a vehicle to understand these powerful ritual objects in their original context in a way that is accessible and relevant.  The strategy to exhibit indigenous African art in conversation with contemporary art was championed by visionary artist, gallerist and art collector, Merton Simpson, as a means to create a dialogue between old and new, as well as between cultures. 

In addition to the masks, the show features artists Chakaia Booker, Lucien Clergue, Willie Cole, Robert Lach, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, So Yoon Lym, Ben Jones, Merton Simpson, Charlee Swanson, Adejoke Tugbiyele, Margaret Rose Vendryes and Adrienne Wheeler.  The exhibition is curated by Jeanne Brasile, Director of the Walsh Gallery. 

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Notes Brasile, “The masks are the cornerstone that hold this exhibition together.  Through their work, the artists in this exhibition address a wide range of subjects that are imbued in the masks including dance, music, performance, ritual, ancestry, gender duality as well as many other important narratives.  We are fortunate to be hosting such a show of this magnitude.  It is through Merton Simpson’s vision, advocacy and foresight to preserve African art that this exhibition is even possible.” 

For 150 years, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership, developing the whole student mind, For more information, see www.shu.edu/walshgallery. Seton Hall University is located at 400 S. Orange Avenue, South Orange, New Jersey, 07079. The Walsh Gallery is open 10:30am to 4:30pm Monday –Friday.

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