Things We Love

I <3 the Global Africa Project

Notes and a craft project from MAD

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  • Peera, assembled!



Part of the fun of working at a museum is that sometimes it’s okay to cut out of the office early and do something really fun—like, for instance, visit a museum.

Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Art and Design’s new exhibition, The Global Africa Project, on its opening day. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this exhibition for months. Not only was it co-curated by Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims (former Studio Museum Director) and Dr. Leslie King Hammond (of the Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as a contributor to Re:Collection), the show includes a plethora of the Museum’s former artists in residence and alumni of our exhibition programs. And Associate Curator Naomi Beckwith wrote for the catalogue!

So I hopped on the A train and tried not to be jealous of MAD’s gorgeous building. I’ll leave the official reviews to the pros, but will just say the show is a can’t-miss, packed with amazing art, fashion, textiles, furniture, and more, and blurs the boundaries between all of them. And I loved it. Despite the growing influence of craft practices in contemporary art, it’s still relatively unusual to see such a diversity of materials, forms, and purposes displayed together. As a fanatical knitter and all-around crafty person, the display of “crafts” and “art” together reminded me that all of this amazing stuff—whether a Kehinde Wiley painting or a basket from the Rwandan collective Gahaya Links—was made by people. This is a truism, but sometimes it’s easy in museums to just focus on the finished object instead of remembering the complex hearts, minds, and hands involved in making that object.

I was so inspired that in addition to knitting like a fiend on the subway home, I took a moment in the office today to assemble a DIY project from the show—“Peera,” a cut-out paper bench by Marlon Darbeau and Christopher Cozier of Trinidad’s Alice Yard. Pick up your own at the Global Africa Project! (but I wouldn't recommend sitting on it...)