University Galleries Hosts Virtual Exhibition, “Songs from the Motherland: African Musical Instruments”

By Staff Report / 10/08/2021 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Oct. 8, 2021) – The University Galleries at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are hosting a virtual exhibition, “Songs from the Motherland: African Musical Instruments.”

The virtual exhibit, from North Carolina A&T’s permanent collection, highlights nine unique and significant African instruments. The exhibit is curated by Amy Schwartzott, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

“This virtual exhibition presents a cross-section of musical instruments intended to be viewed and understood as both tools to create sounds as well as cultural objects in their own right,” said Paul Baker, Ph.D., University Galleries director. “Included in the exhibition’s selection is diverse media, breadth, and range of distinct styles of African musical instruments that are a part of the holdings of the University Galleries’ Mattye Reed African Heritage Collection.”

“Music in traditional African societies provides recreation, ceremonial purpose, aesthetic enjoyment, and an avenue for communicating shared values, knowledge, and experiences,” according to J. H. Kwabena Nketia, a former Ghanaian ethnomusicologist and composer who became the world’s leading scholar on African musical traditions.

“Music-making is part of African celebrations of the life cycle, special ceremonies, rituals and festivals and musical instruments played on such occasions are valued for the impact of their sounds, for their aesthetic interest, and as objects having personal and group sentiments, tradition, and history,” Nketia wrote in the book “Sounding Forms: African Musical Instruments.”

The virtual exhibition can be viewed here and complements the University Galleries’ ongoing in-person exhibition, “Highlights from the Permanent Collection: Mattye Reed African Heritage Collection.” The public can visit the University Galleries website for other virtual exhibitions including “Black Art Matters” and “Rosa: The Works of Bryan Collier.”

The University Galleries are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday by appointment.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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