Arts & Culture

On view: “Stories Without an End: Power, Beauty and Wisdom of Women in African Art of the Mehta Collection”

The exhibition Stories Without an End: Power, Beauty and Wisdom of Women in African Art of the Mehta Collection includes a selection of 50 classically carved wooden sculptures and masks drawn from the collection of Dileep and Martha Mehta.

On view through April 21 at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, the exhibition represents art from more than 25 ethnic groups spanning 12 countries. These objects are gathered into thematic groups including women in governance, maternity, idealized beauty, and female ancestors.

Stories Without an End was inspired in part by the work of the Grandmother Project (GMP) an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a Senegalese NGO with representatives throughout the USA and abroad. With headquarters in Senegal, GMP works with elders in West African villages to fight the maltreatment of young girls. This includes bettering maternal and child nutrition, reproductive health, and marriage standards. The exhibition title is inspired by the GMP initiative “stories without an ending,” which is a tool used to facilitate communication via the elders.

OUMA will also host a film and lecture series to complement the exhibition:

Thursdays at 7 p.m., Dolive Theatre, Lowry Hall
January 31 – DOUBLE FEATURE: Jazz Mama, 2010, directed by Petna Ndaliko (30 minutes) AND Beleh, 2013, directed by Eka Christa Assam (30 minutes)
February 14 – Lamidi Olonade Fakeye: The Life of a Master Carver, 2011 directed by Elizabeth Morton (42 minutes)
February 28 – These Girl Are Missing, 1995, directed by Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini (60 minutes)
March 28 – The Language You Cry In: The Story of a Mende Song, 1998 directed by Angel Serrano and Alvaro Toepke (53 minutes)
April 11 – Herdsmen of the Sun, 1989 directed by Verner Herzog (52 minutes)
April 18 – Talk with Amanda Hellman, PhD, “Art and Authorship in Black Panther: Historical African Imagery a Contemporary American Film” (20 minutes) followed by a screening of Black Panther, 2018, directed by Ryan Coogler (2 hours, 14 minutes)

Oglethorpe student lecturer Taylor Roberts

Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Skylight Gallery, OUMA
February 6 – Anne Gahongayire, “The Grandmother Project in West Africa”
February 20 – Taylor Roberts ’21, “Museums as Social Agents”
March 6 – Amanda Hellman PhD, “Strong Women in Africa: Historical and Contemporary Female Leaders”
March 20 – Elizabeth Peterson, “The Sande Society: Women of the Mende in Sierra Leone”
April 3 – Mario Chandler, PhD, “Transatlantic Trickster: The West African Origins of African American Folk Stories”
April 10 – Dileep Mehta, “Court Art vs. Community Art”

Dileep and Martha Mehta, who are OUMA members, are collectors of both African and Asian arts. Their African art collection, including objects in this exhibit, has greatly benefited from diligent sourcing by and wise counsel of African Art dealers Tamba Kaba and Sanoussi Kalle.

This exhibition was developed by OUMA Director Elizabeth H. Peterson and organized by Amanda Hellman, PhD, curator of African art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University.  The exhibition is on view through April 21, 2019.

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