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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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African mask exhibit comes to the Kennedy

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 11, 2007) -- The Kennedy Museum of Art opens "Behind the Mask: African Art from the Ellen Hobbs Collection and the Kennedy Museum of Art" on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The exhibition will be on display through April 22. 

African masks perform roles in many different cultural arenas, from celebrating women and mothers, to male and female rites of passage, to honoring ancestors. This multimedia exhibition explores indigenous conceptualizations of masking traditions within their cultural, aesthetic, cosmological, and performative contexts. 

Guest curator Andrea Frohne, assistant professor of African art at Ohio University, presents cultural meanings behind African masks on display, with research assistance from students of her African art history graduate seminar.

Mask selected from renowned collector Ellen Hobbs of Hendersonville, North Carolina, and from the Kennedy African collections will be displayed alongside large-screen projections of still photographs and videos featuring African performing arts.

After more than 60 years of collecting, Hobbs owns hundreds of masks from all over the world, including more than 100 from Africa. The Kennedy African Collection includes art from the countries of Mali, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This exhibition draws on ceremonial masks from West and Central Africa.

Exhibition programming open to the public will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22. After a gallery tour lead by museum staff, international students from Africa, representing the Ohio Valley International Council, will give interactive presentations on their countries of origin. The Ohio Valley International Council, out of Ohio University's Center for International Studies, provides international outreach to the Southeast Ohio Community. Additional exhibition programming will be announced.

"Behind the Mask: African Art from the Ellen Hobbs Collection and the Kennedy Museum of Art" is supported by the Ohio Arts Council and by the dean's office at the College of Fine Arts.

The Kennedy Museum of Art, located in historic Lin Hall at The Ridges on the Ohio University campus, is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 12 to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 12 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Mondays and holidays. Admission and parking are free. Pre-arranged guided tours are available to community and school groups with advance notice. For information, or to book tours call 740-593-1304.

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Media Contact: Public Relations and Media Coordinator Anita Martin, 740-597-1585 or martina@ohio.edu

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