CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Dec. 3, 1999
UI Museum of Art receives $20,000 Rockefeller Foundation grant
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has received a $20,000 grant from
the Rockefeller Foundation to be used toward the cost of an upcoming exhibition
of African Art.
"Renewing Tradition: The Revitalization of Bogolan in Mali and Abroad,"
an exhibition of more than 60 African fabrics and fashions, will be shown
at the museum from Saturday, March 25 through Sunday, May 28, 2000. The exhibition
has been organized by Victoria Rovine, the curator of the arts of Africa,
Oceania and the Americas at the Museum of Art.
The exhibition, focusing on bogolan, or African mudcloth, and its American
adaptations, will provide visitors with an opportunity to enhance their understanding
of contemporary African art, its growth and its international influence.
Although the term bogolan is unfamiliar, many Americans will find the bogolan
designs familiar, as they have gradually entered American markets over the
last 10 years. Few people, however, are aware of the textile's origin, role,
and rich history in the lives of many Malians.
The exhibition will feature bogolan paintings, garments and cloth adapted
to the tourist art market, along with photographs and labels explaining the
Rovine hopes that the exhibition will foster an appreciation for the work
of contemporary African artists and show the cosmopolitan nature of Africa
today. "Our experience of African art generally hasn't entered the modern
age," Rovine said. "We tend to see it still as highly exotic, tribal
and traditional. I'd like to provide an alternate vision to the famines, masks,
grass huts and tribal warfare that often represent Africa in the American
media and imagination."
Rovine has spent more than a year in Bamako and elsewhere in Mali, interviewing
artists, art consumers and art merchants. Her research has continued in the
United States, where bogolan designs have been widely assimilated, appearing
on a range of consumer goods including postcards, coffee cups, curtains, decorative
pillows, wrapping paper and gift bags.
After it closes at the UI Museum of Art, the exhibition will travel to the
DuSable Museum of African-American History in Chicago and the University of
California at Santa Barbara.