For countless years, many in the United States have associated the continent of Africa with Tarzan swinging through the jungle on vines while his wife Jane sits at home in their treehouse waiting for him to bring home dinner.
However, that association is a thing of the past as the current exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Midtown opens its newest exhibition, “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design.”
According to High Curator of African Art Carol Thompson, the museum is the first venue in the United States to present this major touring exhibition, which offers a fresh look at Africa through a myriad of diverse creative works by more than 120 the continent’s artists.
“The exhibition corrects all the stereotypes and misconceptions of the African people and encourages people to think about Africa in a new way,” she said. “The exhibition presents visions of Africa as a youthful and urban culture as it focuses on people in all areas of the continent.”
The exhibition, which opened Oct. 17 and closes Jan. 7, offers a vision of the continent through art ranging from “playful to provocative to political,” according to a High news release on the exhibit.
“The artwork encompasses a wide range of artistic types, from sculpture, photography and prints to fashion and furniture,” the release stated.
One of the most unique pieces of artistic creations is at the entrance to the exhibition itself, where African artist Cyrus Kabiru has designed fashionable eyeglasses which, although not optometrist-prescription eyewear, provide a new level of corrective eyewear, Thompson said.
“Africa in the 21st century is a place of unbounded optimism, rapid growth and rapid cultural transformation and presents the continent as a hub of experimentation that generates innovative design and approaches solutions with worldwide relevance,” the news release stated.
Those who view the exhibition will find that the images people have had of Africa for many years as a continent of negativism are highly misrepresented and unfounded, Thompson said.
“This exhibition does not deny that there are challenges on the continent. But, at the same time, there is so much optimism and so many creative people trying to find solutions to these problems,” she said.
Admission to the exhibition is $14.50 per person but special discounts are available.