African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers, 23 Bliss Avenue, Tenafly, N.J. 07670 invites you to please join us for the opening of Africanizing Christian Art, an Exhibition of Kevin Carroll and Yoruba Christian Art in Nigeria. Opening celebration and Special Conversation, Oct. 29, 2013 features Curator Nicholas Bridger and Professor Babatunde Lawal (Virginia Commonwealth University), 1-5 p.m. This ground breaking exhibition introduces the unique and radical work of Fr. Kevin Carroll, SMA(1920-1993) in Nigeria during the years leading up to African Independence following World War II and for decades after. Based on the new book (2012) of the same title by Dr. Nicholas Bridger (Ohlone College, CA), this first American exhibition brings together numerous works of eminent Nigerian artists from the specialized collections of both the Irish and the American Provinces of the SMA, who are our collaborating sponsors. The Vatican’s Pontifical Urbaniana University (Rome) has loaned a rare and significant set of pieces, as well. The exhibition is organized and curated by Dr. Bridger and consultant Dr. Catie Cadge-Moore (De Anza College, CA), both working closely with Robert Koenig, Director of the SMA African Art Museum. Exhibition runs until March 30, 2014.
Africanizing Christian Art presents the mid-20th century encounter between Catholic Christianity and the visual culture of the Yoruba, a prominent west African people of southwest Nigeria, under the conditions of late colonialism. The first institutional project to develop an indigenous Christian art (a process called variously inculturation, indigenization and adaptation),the Oye-Ekiti Workshop (1947-1954), conceived by Dr. Patrick Kelly, head of the SMA’s Irish Province, and overseen by Frs. Kevin Carroll and Sean O’Mahoney, promoted 1) resistance to the colonial imposition of European religious imagery, 2) the development of a Yoruba Christian art, as well as 3) the preservation of customary Yoruba art practices, then suffering under the impact of British political and economic rule. Under Fr. Carroll’s creative direction, the Oye-Ekiti Workshop, and our exhibition, includes three generations of outstanding Yoruba artists, including Areogun of Osi-Ilorin (1880-1954), George Bandele Areogun of Osi-Ilorin (1910-1995) and Lamidi Olonade Fakeye of Ila-Orangun (1925-2009). Other Nigerian contemporary artists, who collaborated with Kevin Carroll, are featured in the exhibition, including Uhrobo painter and multimedia specialist Bruce Onobrakpeya of Lagos, who is still active.
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