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Backtalk: Exposures, Erasures, and Elisions of the Bryn Mawr College African Art Collections

Second Floor Gallery and First Floor Lobby, Canaday Library

February - May, 2015

Class of 1912 Rare Book Room, Canaday Library

Bryn Mawr College


In honor of Black History Month and looking ahead to the completion of the new Black Cultural Center on campus, Bryn Mawr College’s Special Collections and Africana Studies programs have collaborated onBacktalk, an exhibition of selected objects and selective information from the College’s African Art Collection. Showcasing 35 artworks keyed to various aspects of family, political and spiritual life, Backtalk invites viewers to engage questions of what the collection includes, leaves out, clarifies, and obscures, as well as how this collection came to be and how it functions within and beyond the College. As an exhibition, Backtalkstrives to facilitate meaningful discussions about the complexity of exhibition and ownership of African cultural items.

Opening reception 
On Thursday, February 5, 6:00 to 7:00 pm, the community is warmly invited to a Backtalk opening reception in the Canaday Library Coombe Suite immediately before the Naomi Tutu Black History Month Keynote lecture.
Creative Workshop
Saturday, February 21, 11:30am to 1:30pm, Canaday Library 2nd Floor Coombe Suite 
Participants will respond via writing, visual media, and/or performance to pieces/aspects of the Backtalk exhibition in a workshop led by Alice Lesnick, Term Professor of Education, Director, Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program, and Coordinator, Africana Studies. Location: Coombe Suite.
Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 25, 6:00-8:00pm, Canaday Library 2nd Floor Coombe Suite
Kalala Ngalamulume, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History; Linda-Susan Beard, Associate Professor of English, BMC; Alicia Walker, Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture; and moderator Whitney Lopez '15 will discuss evolving methods for talking back, with attention to the tensions and synergies between scholarly and political discourse.

Social Media
Viewers are invited to engage virtually via a Backtalk webspace at Serendip Studio once the exhibition opens.

For additional information, contact the Special Collections Department:, 610-526-6576.

Supported by The Friends of Bryn Mawr College Library, The Bryn Mawr Film Institute, and, at Bryn Mawr College, the offices of the President and the Provost, the Arts, the Museum Studies Working Group, Information Services, The Center for Visual Culture, and the Department of the History of Art. Additional support from the Slought Foundation, and the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.