Celebrating Black History Month

African Arts, Culture and History on Display in New Jersey

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J., Feb. 3, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- In celebration of Black History Month, "Adaaye Afrique: Roots and Branches of African Art" will display traditional and contemporary African art at 13 North Union Street, Lambertville, N.J., from Tuesday, Feb. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 26. The exhibition will showcase works by Senegalese artist Ibou Ndoye, along with selections of traditional and tradition-based forms from a diverse range of African cultures. The event is intended to inspire awareness of and interest in the diverse and ever-evolving artistic traditions themselves, as well as the people and places that produce them.

"The presentation of African works in complement to traditional and tradition-based objects underlines the continuous evolution of social, cultural and artistic expressions on the African continent and helps to remind us of the vital link between the African past and the African present," said local resident Lee Rubinstein, a collector and researcher of African art. "My hope is that everyone that sees the exhibition will have their curiosity piqued and be inspired to learn more about particular forms and use that interest as a springboard for deeper exploration of the art, peoples and current realities in Africa."

The work of painter Ibou Ndoye harmoniously resonates with the goals of the exhibition. "The way Mr. Ndoye draws upon and 'renovates' (the artist's chosen description for his process) Senegalese artistic traditions, such as glass painting, provides insight into the ways in which African artists -- traditional and contemporary -- have continued to make use of existing styles while transforming them through variations in form or the integration of new materials to reflect the evolving nature of their societies. They maintain a relation to the forms by which they are preceded but further develop these forms to reflect the changing realities they experience and aim to express," said Mr. Rubinstein.

Mr. Ndoye, who is also a storyteller, emphasizes the cultural origins of -- and the inter-cultural motivation for -- the works he produces: "My duty as an artist is to communicate and to open people's eyes to the realities," he said. "When I paint, I turn my paint brush into a walking stick, then fumble until I reach where I want to be, or meet those who are open to cultural fusion, or universal understanding." Mr. Ndoye forwards his vision not only through his paintings and sculptures but also through the painting and storytelling workshops he conducts at libraries, schools, museums and nursing homes.

Having been recognized as a source of inspiration for modernist artistic movements throughout the twentieth century, African works have become increasingly appreciated for their value as artistic masterpieces in themselves. African objects, viewed alternately and concurrently as artistic and ethnographic works, also provide one of the richest sources of information from which to gain insight into the historical realities of African societies and cultures. The preservation, exhibition and consideration of these works can bridge diverse cultural realities within and across continents and generate a broader understanding of the diverse African cultures and histories.

Initiatives to support and maintain indigenous arts and cultures will also be highlighted during this celebration of Black History Month, encouraging involvement in local, national and international organizations that work to promote greater recognition of African artistry and culture and address the needs of today's African communities.

"The challenges faced by African communities are the same as those facing people everywhere," said Mr. Rubinstein. "As is true of the arts, living realities are diverse in form. While appearances may be varied, the underlying necessities and challenges are the same for people everywhere. Our aim is to keep both the people and the art alive and evolving, and to utilize art as an accessible means to encourage the inter-cultural understanding that is necessary to negotiate that survival."

For more information about "Adaaye Afrique: Roots and Branches of African Art," please contact Lee Rubinstein at 215-915-3300 or lrubinstein@post.harvard.edu.

For more information on Ibou Ndoye, his art, workshops and lectures, please call Jaclyn Pedalino at 917-400-1658 or visit www.iboundoye.com.


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