Students Curate African Sculpture Exhibit

A museum-quality exhibit of African sculpture curated by six Wabash students opened Friday afternoon in the Eric Dean Gallery at Wabash.

Generations: Sculpture in Stone features previously unknown pieces from Zimbabwe’s renowned stone sculpture movement that began in the 1950s.

Jacob Roehm ’18, Kyle Louks ’19, Hai Nguyen ’17, Forrest Lowery  ’18, Cole Chapman ’16,  and Nick Bova ’17—students from Associate Professor of Art Elizabeth Morton’s Museum Studies class in art history—studied, identified, then classified the pieces by some Zimbabwe’s finest sculptors, then developed the exhibition.

The sculptures belong to the collection of Han Dieter Huebert , who was a pilot in Zimbabwe during the 1970s. They include works by Sylvester Mubayi, Kennedy Musekiwa, Dominic Benhura, Washington Msonza, James Mutambika, Letwin Mugavazi (the first female sculptor in her family), and Lovemore Bonjisi.

“This is the first student-curated exhibition the College has ever hosted,” said Professor Morton. “If one accepts the credo that learning is best done by doing, then it should be no surprise that the class engaged with this subject more by creating this exhibition than by merely learning about it.”

Each student also wrote an essay for the exhibition’s catalog.

Kyle Louks examined the role of family not only as a subject of the art, but as an essential catalyst in bringing artists together to do the work.

Senior chemistry major Cole Chapman welcomed the opportunity to study and explain the role played in the sculptures choice of materials by the chemical composition of the serpentine stone they used. He note that serpentine has been found to be a breeding ground for early life forms.

“The stone is thus linked to life both through the themes depicted in sculpture and also by the properties of the stones themselves,” Chapman said.

Generations: Stone Sculpture from Zimbabwe, Africa continues through April 9. The exhibit is free and open to the public and is handicap accessible. The hours for the Eric Dean Gallery are 9-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10-2 p.m. Saturday