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East African Masterworks Unveiled as QCC Welcomes Tanzanian Ambassador to the UN

Published: February 26, 2013

The vitality of a faraway country was unveiled at the opening of Shangaa: Art of Tanzania, held at the QCC Art Gallery on February 22. The first major exhibit of its kind in the United States showcases how African masks and tribal sculpture channel healing, embody authority, mark initiation into adulthood and address the spirits.

Among the evenings’ honored guests were the Honorable Tuvako N. Manongi, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, and Ms. Lily Munanka, Minister/Head of Chancery, Embassy of the United Republic of Tanzania in Washington, D.C.

“Exposure to rarely seen treasures of this caliber is an invaluable cultural resource for the entire community, regardless of age, background or affiliation with Queensborough,” said Faustino Quintanilla, Executive Director, QCC Art Gallery.

“The attention paid to African carvings, sculpture and paintings from Tanzania has not always enjoyed the same high profile in museums and galleries as that accorded to the more prominent arts from other African countries,” said Dr. Gary Van Wyk, guest curator of the exhibit and member of the QCC Art Gallery Advisory Council. “This current exhibit seeks to raise the awareness of a lesser recognized, but equally important source of traditional African Culture.”

The exhibition features more than 150 objects from renowned domestic and international institutions and private collections that highlight the diverseness of the Eastern African country. Among them are Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig; Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden; Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München; Ethnologisches Museum- Staatliches Museen zu Berlin; and the University of Iowa Museum of Art. The display also spotlights objects from the Gallery’s acclaimed permanent African art collection, including its recent accession of the Makonde masks.

The show, which will run through May 17, 2013, is made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Audiences are challenged, engaged and inspired by the great Tanzanian cultural objects in Shangaa. For the first time in the United States, the great artistic traditions of Tanzania are brought together to expand our knowledge of East Africa. The Portland Museum of Art is very proud to bring this crucial scholarly exploration of Tanzania to our community and museum members,” said Mark Bessire, Director of the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine, where the Tanzanian exhibit will travel to beginning June 8-August 25, 2013.

The exhibit was designed by Michael Lapthorn, Senior Exhibit Designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The exhibit is accompanied by a publication written by Dr. Gary Van Wyk, with contributions by other leading scholars of Tanzanian art from the United States, Germany and Tanzania.

View more images here.

SHANGAA: Art of Tanzania

From left: Faustino Quintanilla, Executive Director, QCC Art Gallery; Dr. Diane B. Call, President of Queensborough Community College; The Honorable Tuvako N. Manongi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations; Dr. Gary Van Wyk, Guest Curator

SHANGAA: Art of Tanzania

SHANGAA: Art of Tanzania

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Alice Doyle
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