Ámà: The Gathering Place

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By Emily Liebert, Curator of Contemporary Art and Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art, with contribution by Dr. Meki Nzewi, Professor of African Music, University of Pretoria

Ámà: The Gathering Place is an immersive site-specific installation integrating sound, textiles, and sculpture by Emeka Ogboh (Nigerian, b. 1977). It is the CMA’s first commissioned artwork for the Ames Family Atrium and part of an ongoing series of large-scale contemporary installations presented in that space. The work’s point of departure is social role of the atrium within the museum: a soaring lightfilled space at the center of the building used by visitors as an area for communing and lively exchange. Ogboh compares it to the ámà—or village square—the physical and cultural center of Igbo life in southeast Nigeria, where he was born. “Both sites,” he explains, “are contact zones, spaces of gathering and ritual activities in their respective settings.” On the occasion of the installation, parallels between the Ames Family Atrium and the Igbo village square will be activated, exemplifying the global scope of the CMA’s encyclopedic collection.

72 pages with 60 images