Friday, April 4, 2014

El Anatsui now Royal Academician!

El Anatsui, RA (Hon)
Congratulations to my friend, mentor, teacher El Anatsui who two days ago became a member of the Royal Academy. Will talk about this later in this or in my other platforms. For now, I can only say: El jide ka iji!

Amanda Gilvin (moderator), El and Obiora
Yes, the conversation last night between Obiora and El was everything I hoped for, and more. Heard it was the biggest event (per attendance) at Mount Holyoke since their last commencement! An auditorium seating several hundreds was filled, and there was another large hall from where a spill-over audience watched via remote video. Thanks once more to my dear friend John Stomberg, the Florence Finch Abbott Director of the Mt. Holyoke College Museum of Art for hosting this event. It meant a lot to me!

John Stomberg welcomes El and Jack Shainman (El's gallerist), left
John with this hilarious make-believe book--Encyclopedia of Everything--during his theatrical introductory remarks

Section of the audience

2nd left, Sheri Fafunwa-Ndibe (Professor of Art, Central Connecticut State Univ) and center, Okey Ndibe, novelist and author of Foreign Gods, Inc.

Roland Abiodun, Obiora Udechukwu, moi, El Anatsui, Ugochukwu Smooth Nzewi, Olabode Omojola,
And talking about this picture above. It brought back memories of Nsukka--yes Nsukka is now a place of memory. Roland Abiodun (John C. Newton Professor of History of Art and Black Studies, Amherst College) was for a long time external examiner for the Nsukka Art department's honors thesis and degree exhibition; Obiora Udechukwu (Charles A. Dana Professor of Art and Art History, St. Lawrence Univ.) and El Anatsui, for many years respectively led the painting and sculpture program at Nsukka; while Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi (Curator of African Art, at Dartmouth College's Hood Museum) and Olabode Omojola (Five College Associate Professor of Musicology, Mt. Holyoke College) were respectively alumni of the Nsukka Fine Arts and Music programs. 

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