Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa

April 23–September 14, 2014

The news today is replete with reports on territorial disputes, resource extraction, and other forces that impact and endanger the environment. These timely issues lie at the heart of Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, which uses the work of artists to examine the conceptually complex and visually rich relationship between individuals and communities in Africa and the land upon which they live.

The exhibition features more than one hundred exceptional works of art from the 19th–21st centuries, including powerful ritual sculpture and masks as well as paintings, photographs, videos, and sculpture by forty-one internationally recognized and emerging contemporary artists from the continent and its diasporas—among them Ghada Amer, El Anatsui, Sammy Baloji, Wangechi Mutu, Allan deSouza, IngridMwangiRobertHutter, and William Kentridge. Earth Matters invites us to consider the earth as a sacred or medicinal material, the site of mining and burial, a source of inspiration, and an environment in need of protection.

Debuting at the Fowler with a special opening event on Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22), Earth Matters is the first major exhibition to approach the topic with such geographic breadth and chronological depth, and artistic diversity.

Contemporary Artists

AboudramaneSam Nhlengethwa
Jida AlajikaOtobang Nkanga
Ghada AmerCharles Okereke
El AnatsuiAntónio Ole
Sammy BalojiGeorge Osodi
Berry BickleNyaba Leon Ouedraogo
Jerry BuhariOwanto
Bakary Emmanuel DaouGeorgia Papageorge
Allan deSouzaDawit L. Petros
Nakunte DiarraThabiso Phokompe
Christine DixieAndrew Putter
Ben EnwonwuJo Ratcliffe
Reza FarkhondehYounès Rahmoun
David GoldblattBerni Searle
Dan HalterBatoul S’himi
IngridMwangiRobertHutterMikhael Subotzky
William KentridgeTchif
Helga KohlClive van den Berg
Santu MofokengDiane Victor
Wangechi MutuGraeme Williams
Abdoulaye Ndoye
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Panel: Africa Matters: Envisioning An Equitable And Sustainable Africa

Press Release

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa

Exhibition Credits

Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa is organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C. Major sponsorship is provided by the government of the Gabonese Republic. Additional support received from the Smithsonian Institution, Consortia for Valuing World Cultures and for Understanding the American Experience. The Los Angeles presentation is made possible through the generosity of the Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg Fund, the Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director’s Discretionary Fund, and Manus, the support group of the Fowler Museum.  Public and family programs are made possible by the Jerome L. Joss Fund and the UCLA Dream Fund. Special thanks to our colleagues at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Hotel Sponsor: Hotel Angeleno
Media Sponsor: LAArtsOnline.com