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American Art in Dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora

Symposium Links

The collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum offers many significant resources for those studying the impact of Africa and its diaspora on American art. These include modern art inspired by African sculpture and textiles; works by artists who traveled to Africa in the twentieth century, such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, William H. Johnson, and Loïs Mailou Jones; and contemporary pieces by artists such as María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Freddy Rodríguez, Stephen Marc, and Tony Gleaton that reflect the diversity of the African diaspora. Many of these works can be seen in the exhibition African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, a selection of 100 works from the museum's permanent collection that is touring the country through January 4, 2015. The Archives of American Art offers researchers the opportunity to read and study American artists' and art dealers' papers and oral history interviews. The National Museum of African Art collects and exhibits contemporary work by artists of the African diaspora, such as Alexander "Skunder" Boghossian, Victor Ekpuk, Yinka Shonibare, Ouattara Watts, and more. It is also the repository of the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, which includes the American filmmaker and photographer's documentary images of African life from 1947 to 1973. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open its doors on the National Mall in 2015, will exhibit visual arts including a section devoted to African connections. Among the collections at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum is the Lorenzo Dow Turner Collection featuring artifacts and recordings of community life in South Carolina, Brazil, and West Africa.

Other Research Resources in or around Washington, D.C.:

The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park

Howard University's Gallery of Art and its annual James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art

African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, the largest museum of African American history and culture on the East Coast