Featuring nearly 50 pieces of contemporary art created since 2010, the exhibit traveled from Dakar, Senegal, to Beloit in September, the result of a collaborative effort between Beloit faculty and staff and colleagues at Kent State University.
In media from photography to acrylic to collage, the exhibit expressed artists’ perspectives on contemporary life in the West African nation.
Michelle Bumatay, assistant professor of French at Beloit, connected with Kent State University’s art history professor Joseph Underwood to bring the art to Beloit. With the guidance of Wright Museum Collections Manager Christa Story, they curated the exhibit for Beloit’s space. Rachel Ellett, associate professor of political science at Beloit, and Josh Moore, associate director of Beloit’s Office of International Education, also got involved in the project. Professors Bumatay and Ellett wrote essays for the exhibit’s catalog, and Bumatay and Moore provided translations in the French and Wolof languages, respectively, for the catalog and text panels.
Ellett explains that The View From Here was a continuation of conversations about representation and struggle that began with Africa Today: The Politics of Belonging, Memory, and Statehood, an exhibit she curated as Beloit’s Parker Faculty Curator in 2015. The View From Here similarly encouraged visitors to consider different views of the contemporary world and rethink assumptions about Africa and its people.
The exhibition originated at the 2018 Dakar Biennale of Art, sponsored in part by the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, before traveling to Beloit, then going on to Kent State and Stony Brook Universities.