The African Arts Collection
Barbara W. Blackmun received the Ph.D. in art history from UCLA in 1984, and is Emeritus Professor of Art History at Mesa College. She has taught at the University of Malawi in Africa, and at U.C.S.D. and U.C.L.A., and serves as a consultant for museums in Europe and the United States. Her work in Africa has been in Malawi and Nigeria. She has published essays on Marave masks, on Nigerian terracottas from ancient Ile Ife, and on interpretation of motifs on ivories and bronzes produced in Nigeria's Kingdom of Benin from the 1400s through the 1900s AD. She authenticates African antiquities for museums, and works with non-commercial laboratories in the US and Europe that specialize in metal analysis and CT scanning of ancient objects.
As a specialist in Benin's art history, Dr. Blackmun has assisted since 2004 with the international exhibition, "Benin: Court Arts from West Africa" which opens in Vienna in May, 2007. The collection consists of over 300 bronze sculptures and carved ivories, covering approximately a thousand years of Nigerian art and history. In 2008 this comprehensive exhibition will move to Bonn, and then to Berlin, before opening in the United States at the Art Institute in Chicago. The art has been chosen from the British Museum, the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, the Vienna Museum fuer Voelkerkunde, the Berlin Museum, the state museums of Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Cologne, and the Quai Branly in Paris, among other European institutions.
Mesa College Glass Gallery:
In 2003 the Glass Gallery in the Mesa College Library was opened with the assistance of a major financial gift from the Sana Art Foundation. This gift was gratefully combined with generous donations from students, faculty, staff, and administrators at Mesa College. (These donors' names are displayed on the large black acrylic panel that hangs on the wall opposite the current Glass Gallery exhibition.) Click Exhibitions on the Home Page of this website, for details of the current 2006 display, and to learn about others that have been presented yearly in this Gallery. The 2007 exhibition, "Touching the Mystery", will be open from mid-March through November 30, 2007.
The artworks chosen for this display have functioned as conduits for spiritual communication, inspiration, and guidance.
The Opening Reception with entertainment, lecture, & Silent Auction are planned for Friday, March 24, 2007, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm
From time to time, Mesa's Art Gallery exhibits selections from our African artworks. We also borrow fine African art from other collectors, in order to present exhibitions of several weeks' duration, each with a unifying theme.