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Augustana Students Bring African Art To Life

November 16, 2010, 5:05 PM by Katie Janssen

Augustana Students Bring African Art To Life
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Some Augustana College students are bringing African art to the heartland. A one-of-a-kind show opens this week, showcasing students' work as they study not just artifacts, but the art of putting on a museum exhibit.

Students in Augustana College's Museum Methods class hand-built an African hut.

"We're going to use it to draw a centerpiece to the gallery, create excitement, draw people in," Augustana junior Allison Henke said.

The exhibit will showcase African cultural and religious traditions, with the hut as the main attraction. Anthropology Professor Adrien Hannus says from the lighting to the grass used on the walls, the class is trying to make every detail as authentic as possible.

"We've used some photographs from Africa, the huts, and I've matched the color to this dye we have to mix with the sheetrock mud," Hannus said.

Students are learning as much about curating a museum show as they are about African culture itself through this project.

"When you're so close to an artifact, it's a lot different experience than if you're looking at in a book,” sophomore Meredith Gerdes said. “It's a lot more of a moving experience."

It's also given students a better understanding of how to make history come alive.

"You can impart information through textbooks and lecture about how you do things, but until you really do it, it doesn't connect as effectively as literally bringing people in," Hannus said.

And these students hope their work will bring many in to see the show.

The Oracles & Divination: Segue to the Supernatural exhibit also includes African masks and artifacts from both public and private collections. It opens Thursday, November 18 on the campus of Augustana College in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery, and runs through December 11.

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