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The Humanities Institute At Stony Brook University Presents Exhibition And Lecture On New York City Community Murals

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The Humanities Institute At Stony Brook University Presents Exhibition And Lecture On New York City Community Murals

Exhibition, November 2 – December 18, open M-F, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Humanities Institute Gallery, 1013 Humanities Building. Lecture by curator Jane Weissman, Wednesday, December 9, 4:00 p.m., 1008 Humanities Building

STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 27, 2009 — The Humanities Institute at Stony Brook presents 
Images of the African Diaspora in New York City Community Murals,
 a traveling exhibition that explores how African and Caribbean art, history, religion and myth have influenced mural themes and content.  The show will be on view in the Humanities Institute Gallery, 1013 Humanities Building, Stony Brook University, from November 2 to December 18, and is co-sponsored by the Africana Studies Department.  A lecture by Jane Weissman, the curator of the show, “Community Murals in New York City:  Protest and Celebration,” will be held on Wednesday, December 9th at 4:00 p.m. in 1008 Humanities, Stony Brook University.  The lecture is made possible by the New York Council for the Humanities as part of their “Speakers in the Humanities” series.


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The exhibition, whose images are bursting with color, examines the traditional meaning of diasporan images and symbols in the context of National Black Arts Movement, the artistic philosophy of Ghanaian artist Kofi Antubam, Adinkra and African fertility symbols, Ndebele house painting, Egyptian rituals, and representations of Jesus and his disciples as Blacks.  The murals, from neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, also include references to African-American cultural figures, history and politics, the Caribbean slave trade, Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts and magic scrolls, and Bògòlanfini (mud cloth) fabric.  The West African Sankofa Bird—presented in the murals flying forward while looking backward and carrying an egg in its mouth, symbolizing the future—reminds us that only by looking at the past can we understand who we are now and how to move forward.  

Included in the show are murals depicting and commenting upon recent immigration to the United States.  “This beautiful exhibition is particularly timely,” said E. Ann Kaplan, the Humanities Institute Director, “as Stony Brook will be hosting an international conference on migration on November 12-13, presented by the Humanities Institute in collaboration with the Alfonse M. D’Amato Chair in Italian and Italian-American Studies.”

The exhibition coincides with the publication of Janet Braun-Reinitz and Jane Weissman’s 
On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City, 
University Press of Mississippi, 2009.  Weissman and Braun-Reinitz are longtime members of the Brooklyn-based Artmakers, an artist-run, politically oriented community mural organization that creates high quality public art relevant to the lives, work and concerns of people in their neighborhoods.  

 

For more information please visit 
www.stonybrook.edu/humanities 
or call Olivia Mattis at (631) 632-9957. 

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