“The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.”
-Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
History can be hazy, a collection of stories that wobble along the line of truth and fiction. The facts are out there, but they often support a narrative quite different from the one we’ve been led to believe from a very young age. We are told of the heroic adventurers who sailed to distant shores and settled new worlds – who spun the societies in which we live today. Oft omitted are those whose shores these already were, those who were eradicated in the name of a crown or forward progress; their stories buried in the deep archives while a brighter version visits the textbooks and desktops of generations.
Dr. Christine Mullen Kreamer works as Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. She spoke to us from Washington, D.C. where her role as curator sees her helping to oversee a large collection of global African art. The museum has a mission to bring about an understand of Africa as a global presence and a relevant entity in the present moment. She says that people shouldn’t think of Africa as a place that’s separate from the world, rather one that is an integral part of the global community. The museum was founded during the 1960s when African art wasn’t even on the radar, so to speak. Since its inception, the museum has brought together traditional and contemporary African art to give a cross cutting perspective and emphasize that some of the perceptions about Africa are culturally imposed by Westerners. Now, during this pandemic period, the museum is experiencing a shutdown. To hear more from Dr. Mullen Kreamer about the history, present and future of the National Museum of African Art, listen to the complete interview.
Mia Kang is a poet and student currently headed into her fourth year as a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at Yale University. Her studies involve the contested rise of U.S. multiculturalism and its failures. In addition to this general focus, she is interested in artists who have been “ghosted” by the art history cannon or the academic discipline of art history. To hear a more in-depth conversation about this concept, including some artists Kang researches who were unable to benefit from the legacy of their own work during their lifetimes – as well as a reading of her poetry – listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Be willing to question your own understanding of history and accept the truths even if they are difficult to hear.
Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Dr. Christine Mullen Kreamer has authored and co-authored many books that can be found here. Mia Kang’s published work can be found here.
MASSIVart and MIRA invite national and international artists to submit proposals for a public art call in Mexico. The selected artist will be given a budget of $6 million pesos to realize their work in Nuevo Polanco, Mexico City – likely in Spring 2021. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for proposals is June 29.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.
Join GOLDEN on Facebook Live!
In these uncertain times, our first responsibility is assuring staff, their families and our entire art community is safe. We hope to turn the page on this devastating virus and return to normalcy soon. In the meantime, we continue sharing educational resources and have developed new Facebook Live events, providing an informal and intimate opportunity to meet artists and engage in topics we all love. Follow the GOLDEN Facebook page to join!
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.
Photo credit: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution