Hammonds House Museum is pleased to exhibit Nu Africans, a collaborative body of work by Maurice Evans and Grace Kisa. Nu Africans addresses the notion that Africans of the diaspora, through their individual circumstances, have evolved into their own tribe of Nu Africans. Inspired by the legendary warriors and queens from the African continent, models were styled in elaborate costumes with striking headpieces and crowns, then photographed as both a warrior and a queen. Though the inspiration takes its roots from the continent, these women are from this time, this place, and embody all the experiences that have brought them here. Between the real and the imagined, Nu Africans articulates what is bold, black, and beautiful.
Through digital technology, you are invited to experience the Nu Africans exhibition, speak with the artists, and enjoy a fabulous after-party featuring music by DJ Salah Ananse on Friday, May 15 at 7 pm. Admission is free for Hammonds House members and $7.00 for non-members. Click here to RSVP and purchase tickets: www.hammondshouse.org/programs-and-events/nu-africans-by-maurice-evans-and-grace-kisa-opening.
“Sharing our experiences as Africans on both sides of the Atlantic was the catalyst for Nu Africans,” states artists Maurice Evans and Grace Kisa. “Through the medium of photography, music, and video, and in collaboration with 40 women from around the African diaspora, we have created an exhibition which aspires to center the Black woman in her own power.”
“We are excited to present this work as our very first virtual exhibition,” says Leatrice Ellzy Wright, Executive Director of Hammonds House Museum. “When Grace mentioned that she and Maurice had been working on a joint project, I wanted to know more. Once I saw the work and understood the narrative they were engaging, I knew it had to be a part of our 2020 season. With the idea of afro-futurism so prominently layered into the show, it seems appropriate that the May 15th opening is in digital space. When the museum reopens, we welcome visitors into experience the exhibition IRL (in real life).”
Maurice Evans’ creative focus was first realized through the lens of music. Born in Smyrna, TN, his father was a military man but also a gifted drummer and singer in a gospel choir. He introduced Maurice to guitar lessons at the age of 4, and these lessons along with his exposure to the music of Al Green, Chaka Khan and Marvin Gaye, inspired his early creative growth. When his family settled in Georgia, Maurice began to explore his artistic talents in high school as an outlet after his parent’s divorce. His mother, a teacher, supported his creativity by allowing him to help design her classroom bulletin boards. By the time Maurice graduated, he had gained recognition as a talented artist, with the confidence to pursue his passion. In 1986, he was accepted to the Art Institute of Atlanta where he studied Fashion Illustration to advance his painting and drawing skills.
After college, Maurice worked at design firms but didn’t achieve the freedom he yearned for as an independent artist. In 1994, with the support of family and friends, he had his first successful exhibition at the juried Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. At the New York Art Expo, he was introduced to clients and collectors. Today, Maurice’s artistic creativity is expressed through a diverse mixture of art and photography, articulating expressions of music, culture, gender, and politics. His work has been featured in numerous galleries and he has received national and international acclaim.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Grace Kisa spent her formative years in Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, Canada, then McLean, VA before settling in Atlanta, GA. She came to Atlanta to study at The Art Institute of Atlanta, after which she began her pursuit of a career in art.
Working in many different mediums, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, costume and jewelry design, and photography, Grace’s artwork explores the connections between personal, cultural, national, and global perspectives. Her artistic process is a combination of creative play and problem solving, and her work explores ideas including identity and how it relates to notions of comfort and alienation; migration and how one acculturates to a new environment; and the concept of home set against the context of time and space. Her work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the U.S.
Nu Africans is generously supported by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Fulton County Arts and Culture, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Christopher Swain. Hammonds House Museum is a Partner of the National Performance Network (NPN). This project is further made possible in part by support from the NPN Artist Engagement Fund, whose major contributors include the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information visit www.npnweb.org.
Upcoming Digital Events at Hammonds House Museum:
An Evening with Jessica Care Moore. Poet, performer, publisher, activist, and critic; Jessica Care Moore will read poetry from her new book We Want Our Body Back and engage in a conversation with Hammonds House Executive Director Leatrice Ellzy Wright. Friday, May 29, 7 PM.
Black Classical Muse: Exploring African American Composers. Eight classically trained vocalists sing the music of unsung Black composers of the 19th and 20th century. Sunday, June 7, 4 PM.
Poetry Kitchen. Felton Eaddy’s Poetry Kitchen at Hammonds House Museum moves into the digital space. Quarterly Poetry Kitchens present a diverse group of poets who deliver original work based in the tradition of great African American poets, writers and wordsmiths. Friday, June 12, 7 PM.
Hammonds House Museum, located in a beautiful Victorian home in Atlanta’s historic West End, is a unique setting to explore the cultural diversity and legacy of artists of African descent. The museum is the former residence of the late Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds, a prominent Atlanta physician and a passionate arts patron. A 501(c)3 organization that opened in 1988, Hammonds House Museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 450 works including art by Romare Bearden, Robert S. Duncanson, Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Hale Woodruff, Amalia Amaki, Radcliffe Bailey and Kojo Griffin. In addition to featuring art from their collection, the museum offers new exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, concerts, poetry readings, arts education programs, and other cultural events throughout the year. For more information, and to find out how you can get involved, visit their website: hammondshouse.org.
Photos: Maurice Evans