UT brings the Congo to campus

February 23, 2009 | Arts
By Megan Lewis

"The Photo He Gave Me" by Stephanie Matthews

"The Photo He Gave Me" by Stephanie Matthews

Although the Congo is one of the wealthiest nations in natural resources such as diamonds, copper and minerals, it is also one of the poorest with more than one million people dying every year from malnutrition, starvation and disease.

Come experience life in the Congo through inspirational Congolese artworks on display in the UT Office of Multicultural Student Services in Student Union Room 2500 on Main Campus.

In celebration of Black History Month, the office is showing the art exhibits, “Children of the Congo” and “Art of the Congo.”

“Children of the Congo,” a photo exhibit by UT alumna Stephanie Matthews, was created in an effort to encourage greater understanding of the culture and spirit of Congolese children.

Matthews presents the photos without frames and glass covers so nothing stands between the viewer and images.

"Dance of Three Birds"

"Dance of Three Birds"

Story cards are placed among the staggered images so viewers can try to understand the realities the children face.

One of Matthews’ cards reads, “Fifty percent of those between 1 and 5 will die to malnutrition, starvation or disease. I am painfully aware that in one year’s time upon return to their nation, some of these children may not be alive.”

The “Art of the Congo” exhibition contains mixed-media artworks from several Congolese artists. The works depict African life and landscapes and are made from copper, leather and sand.

“This exhibit introduces viewers to the talents of the Congolese people,” said Nina Grant, senior director of the Multicultural Student Services Office. “It shows how a Congolese person interprets life.”

“Art of the Congo” is on loan from the African Cultural Initiatives for Peace and Development and support from UT’s Students in Free Enterprise. The pieces are for sale to provide financial assistance to the Congolese artists.

The exhibits can be seen Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday, March 5.

For more information on these free, public exhibits, contact Grant at 419.530.2261.

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