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Thursday January 7, 2016

Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a blockbuster exhibition of African artworks from the VMFA’s permanent collection, will open at Piedmont Arts on January 16.

A curatorial partnership between William King Museum of Art Curator, Leila Cartier, and VMFA’s Curator of African Art, Richard Woodward, has resulted in an exhibition that brings together art from the ancient empire of Mali, the Akan kingdoms of Ghana, and the Kuba kingdom in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

“The arts of Ghana’s Akan and the Congo’s Kuba kingdoms are elaborate in design and visually stunning,” said Woodward. “As Curator of African Art, I am thrilled that such an important and beautiful part of the collection will be shared with the Piedmont Arts audience.”

Visitors from around the Commonwealth will have the opportunity to see African objects from the VMFA’s collection first-hand. Included in the exhibition are elements of royal regalia, dozens of gold weights – small figures and objects that often communicate proverbs and are used to weigh out gold dust – masks and other ceremonial objects, sculptures, and three spectacular Kente Cloths.

One of several in the works, this Statewide project has developed from a seed of an idea into an exhibition that has traveled to three VMFA Statewide Partner museums: William King Museum in Abingdon; Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke; and Piedmont Arts in Martinsville. 

“We are excited to work once again with Piedmont Arts to bring the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to the Martinsville region,” said Jeffrey Allison, VMFA’s Paul Mellon Collection educator and manager of statewide programs and exhibitions. “As one of our oldest Statewide Partners, we have a long history of sharing VMFA organized exhibitions, programs and performances for all audiences.”

Gina Collins, VMFA’s exhibitions project coordinator added, “The VMFA is thrilled to once again partner with Piedmont Arts. Our Statewide Partnership program is an essential part of our mission and goals. It allows us to bring art from our global collection to all parts of the Commonwealth.”

Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will be on display at Piedmont Arts January 16 – March 5, 2016.  


Also on display at Piedmont Arts January 16 – March 5, 2016:

Kind Cuts

Dennis Winston’s woodcuts reflect both his urban and rural experiences. As an artist, he is driven by needs that are both aesthetic and social. His themes are universal and are concerned with the everyday reality of all human existence. The woodcut allows Winston to use a bold and direct black and white approach in his work. This is an ordinary medium through which he endeavors to capture moments in the lives of ordinary people. His work reveals his subject’s character, the history that has shaped them and the spirit that sustains them. These works express essential ideas, and he has merged his vision and the medium to celebrate both the process and his perception.

Winston is a graduate of Norfolk State University (magna cum laude) and the University of Richmond (Masters of Humanities) and has done post-graduate work at the University of Colorado and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has served on the faculties of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. In June 2005, he retired as the Coordinator/Supervisor of Arts Education (K-12) and the Humanities Center for Richmond Public Schools.


Current Brushstrokes

A love of motorcycles led Pepper Martin to become an artist. While admiring the airbrushed artwork at a bike show, she thought to herself, “I could do that!” She first dabbled in painting while keeping her day job, but the birth of her daughter made her realize she had to take a leap of faith and become a woman who fully pursues her dreams; a woman her daughter can look up to. Martin is well-known for her portraiture and for teaching monthly Young Artists and Painting and Pinot classes at Piedmont Arts. Martin’s work will be on display in the museum’s Lynwood Artists Gallery.

Piedmont Arts exhibits are open to the public and are always admission free. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 5 pm and Saturday: 10 am – 3 pm.


Members-Only Reception
Friday, January 15 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm • Piedmont Arts

Piedmont Arts will host a free Members-Only Reception in honor of these exhibits on Friday, January 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the museum. Piedmont Arts members, prospective members, artists and guests are invited to attend. Complimentary wine and light refreshments will be served. 

VMFA Curator of African Art, Richard Woodward, will give a gallery talk at 6 pm. 

Please RSVP attendance by calling 276.632.3221 or online at PiedmontArts.org.

This reception is generously sponsored by Imogene and Christina Draper, Dr. James E. Rountree, Kenneth and Joyce Staples, Martinsville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Patterson Foundation, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lynwood Artists and Piedmont Arts.


Image Credits:

Top right:

African, Kuba Culture (Zaire)

Mukenga Mask, 19th – 20th century

Raffia, cloth, leopard skin, wood, cowrie shells, glass beads, string

19½”H x 17”W x 22”D / 49.53 cm x 43.18 cm x 55.88 cm

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund.

Photo: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Bottom right:

From Kind Cuts:

Goat of Rassawek, Dennis Winston

Tags: Art, Insider's Tips, Martinsville, Museums, Piedmont Arts,