Raleigh Now Spotlight: NCMA’s Threads of Africa

Cultural Immersion
NCMA’s Threads of Africa celebrates new gallery

by Jessie Ammons

The North Carolina Museum of Art’s substantial and impressive African art collection is getting a fresh spotlight with a center-stage display and new gallery in the musem’s East building. A focal point is the space’s newest addition, an intricate 30-by-18-foot chalk wall drawing by Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk. Ekpuk created the drawing, which will remain in place until June 2018, on site over the course of many weeks.

The new gallery will open Sept. 23 with Threads of Africa, a free afternoon-long celebration of the many cultures represented by the gallery’s works. Throughout the day, curators will offer tours of the gallery, and visitors will be encouraged to create their own art inspired by the collection, including adding a layer to a communal tapestry on a floor-to-ceiling loom.

Acclaimed Durham artist Maya Freelon Asante will also be on hand, creating her own collaborative art project inspired by the gallery and the day.

Meanwhile, the Museum Park will continue the celebration with music and dance performances, drum-making workshops, food, and other African cultural activities. The day will conclude with a free concert by Grammy Award-winning Angélique Kidjo. Kidjo cites her West African heritage, Latin American culture, and American R&B as inspiration for her funk-jazz music. Art, music, crafts, food; award-winning artists and singers – it’s hard to find a reason not to stop by.

12 noon festival, 6:45 concert; free, but ticket registration required for concert; ncartmuseum.org/calendar