April was a whirlwind of activity! Among the highlights, James Madison University’s Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art hosted Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and I in conversation about her work.
We spoke for nearly an hour and a half, including wonderful audience questions and responses. During the conversation, Campos-Pons discussed the above work, Island Treasures, in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. I brought the work up for discussion because I had been interested in linking the materials featured in the work to Afro-Atlantic religious arts practices. Often sticks are bundled together as an offering, or a means of contemplating changes in one’s world. However, Campos-Pons pointed to even greater meanings. She had collected these sticks on the island of Gorée, in Senegal, just outside of the House of Slaves, a holding point for captive Africans being sent to the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Campos-Pons will be performing with her husband, Neil Leonard, at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday, May 14th from 4:00-5:00pm. Their performance will offer further means to contemplate these challenging histories. Details are here: http://newsdesk.si.edu/events/advisory-cuban-artist-mar-magdalena-campos-pons-national-portrait-gallery
I am grateful to Dr. Bill Van Norman of JMU for the photograph of the two of us on stage.