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

April 22, 2013 – February 23, 2014

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Sublevel 2, Pavilion, outside in gardens Floor Plan

Earth Matters is the first major exhibition to examine the conceptually complex and visually rich relationship between African artists and the land upon which they live, walk, and frame their days. Approximately 100 artworks are on view in five thematic sections—the Material Earth, Power of the Earth, Imagining the Underground, Strategies of the Surface, and Art as Environmental Action. These categories provide vantage points from which to examine the most poignant relationships that Africans have with the land, whether it be to earth as a sacred or medicinal material or to earth as something exploited by mining or claimed by burial. For the first time, four artists create land-art installations in the Smithsonian gardens: Land Reform by Strijdom van der Merwe, Ala by El Anatsui, Hunger by Ghada Amer, and Land/Displacements by Ledelle Moe.

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