Center presents African art exhibit

Published 11:37 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

An exhibit opening today at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will commemorate African art during Black History Month.

“Land of Our Fathers” includes art from eight African countries in a variety of mediums, including wood, metal, clay and fiber. The art comes from the Norfolk State University African Art Gallery and the Drs. L.T. and Margaret Reid collection from the Suffolk Art Gallery.

This mask from Liberia is part of the Norfolk State University collection.

It is accompanied by the photography of Brenda C. Wright.


Email newsletter signup

The NSU collection was donated last year from Portsmouth resident Olivia Hinton. Her husband, A.C. Hinton Jr., died recently, and she decided to donate the African art they had collected during three to four decades.

Hinton said they collected the art while doing mission studies at their church.

“My husband liked to make the fellowship hall turn into the country that we were studying,” she said.

The couple worked with an Old Dominion University student who grew up in Africa, as well as several importers who procured the art.

Tommy Bogger, director of archives at Norfolk State, said the collection includes mostly pieces from western Africa, particularly the Ivory Coast and the Republic of the Congo. However, several other countries also are represented, including Nigeria and Mali.

He said many of the products are functional art, such as jewelry, blankets, a mortar and pestle and some masks.

“They are very good pieces,” Bogger said.

The donation of the Hintons’ collection came at a good time for the university because the department was preparing to move into a new facility with a larger gallery space, he said.

The exhibit is presented in partnership with Norfolk State University and the Suffolk Art Gallery. The opening reception will be held from noon to 2 p.m. today at the center, 110 W. Finney Ave.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The exhibit will be on display through April 28.

Also, just an hour before the opening, the Children’s Theatre of Hampton Roads will present “She, Called Moses,” the tale of the life of Harriet Tubman. The play begins at 11 a.m. at the center, and all seats are $5.

For more information, call 923-0003.