“A Taste for the Beautiful”: African impact on American culture

Shadae Simpson |Staff Writer

In acknowledgement of the statewide “American Evolution: Virginia to America, 1619-2019 Commemoration and the City of Hampton’s First African Landing at Old Point Comfort Commemoration,” the Hampton University museum Sept. 27 had its opening reception, where guests will be able to meet the artist and enjoy the art for the new, “A Taste for the Beautiful” exhibit.

The highlight of the event was Hampton University alumni showcasing their work in the “A Taste for the Beautiful.”

This event displayed how the artists have been influenced directly and indirectly by African culture. The artists included Kwabena Ampfro-Anti, Chinedu Okala and Solomon Isekeije.

The exhibit debuted Sept. 30 and will run through Nov. 23.

This exhibit is meant to shine a light on the experiences of people from African descent more than 400 years ago. Due to the artists’ West African roots, each artist holds their own cultural narrative on African culture which is why they have made works of art that will make a statement. African scholar Chika Okeke-Agula said, “Africa remains for its artists a site of powerful imaginaries, a historical place to which they are bound by ancestry, and an idea that elicits powerful aesthetic and symbolic action.”

HU houses the oldest African American museum, which is one of the oldest museums in Virginia, and the university was established for newly freed African Americans and American Indian students. Thus, it is only right that there are a variety of different exhibits offered. The museum includes several permanent exhibits: The African Gallery, The American Indian Gallery, The Asian & Pacific Gallery and The Fine Arts Collection. The Hampton History Gallery will open soon. Between all these collections, there are more than 9,000 objects featured in the museum.

Hampton students embrace the idea of previsous students having artwork displayed in the museum.

“I think seeing artwork from artists whose sole purpose is to make a statement about the history of Africans is great,” HU senior Paige Vosges said. “There needs to be conversations sparked about things like that because it was not that long ago, and African Americans are still being oppressed till this day.”

Another student expressed his feelings toward the new addition of the museum.

“I’m excited for the exhibit because regularly the museum has many profound pieces, so to see students and alumni work will be inspiring,” Joshua Mckissnick said.

Museum exhibits are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and closed Sunday. The museum is free and open to the public.

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