The North Carolina Museum of Art’s newly expanded African art gallery opened in the summer.

French impressionist Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

That’s certainly the case at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s newly expanded African art gallery – an effort made possible through the expertise of UNCG’s Elizabeth Perrill, associate professor of art history.

At a time when African art is becoming increasingly popular among collectors and museums worldwide, Perrill’s skilled oversight as curator helped the museum reimagine and nearly triple the size of this gallery space.

Visitors to the gallery, which opened this past summer, are now greeted by a large map of Africa divided into regional sections. The exhibit’s focus areas are dedicated to specific kingdoms, regions and aesthetic traditions spanning 16 centuries. Section titles such as “Gold as Regalia,” “Art Abounds,” and “Geometry and Abstraction” are designed to “shake people out of their expectations of what African art is,” Perrill says.

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Originally published January 28, 2018. This post was adapted from a UNCG Research Magazine story written by Dawn Martin. Photography courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of Art.


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