VMFA appoints new Curator of African Art

According to a recent press release, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced the appointment of Dr. Ndubuisi C. Ezeluomba as Curator of African Art beginning May 25. He will lead efforts to reinvent the display of the museum’s vast collection of African art. .

The VMFA conducted an international search and chose Enzeluombo, better known as “Endy,” the statement said, who recently served as Françoise Billion Richardson’s curator of African art at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). from 2018 to 2022.

Enzeluombo is no stranger to Richmond or the VMFA, having previously served as Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Research Specialist in African Art from 2016-2018. fullest collection of African art. art in the country.

“We are thrilled to have Endy join the curatorial team at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” said Alex Nyerges, director and CEO of VMFA, in the statement. “He will advance the vision of the museum’s renowned collection of African art, an invaluable resource for Virginians who want to learn more about African art and culture.”

“I am thrilled to return to VMFA during such a transformative time for the museum,” Ezeluomba said in the statement. “African art and culture are relevant to the history and people of Virginia. Through my work at VMFA, including curating the African art galleries in the new wing as part of the museum’s upcoming expansion project, I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation and understanding of African art for all our visitors.

We look forward to talking with Dr. Enzeluombo about upcoming exhibitions or events. Below is more information provided in the release, including biographical details about the new recruit.

“Ezeluomba will be responsible for the development, interpretation and management of VMFA’s collection of African art, considered one of the most comprehensive in the United States. Comprising more than 1,200 works of art, including ceramics, figures, masks, paintings, photographs, ritual objects and textiles from more than 100 cultures across the continent, the collection offers a comprehensive overview of the history of African art and culture dating from the first millennium BC to the 21st century…

As curator, Ezeluomba will lead the installation and interpretation of works from the museum’s African art collection in the new wing, with a focus on exhibition development. A thought leader and widely published authority on the restitution of African art, Ezeluomba will lead VMFA’s efforts through extensive research into the provenance and titles of African objects in the museum’s collection, returning works that have been stolen or looted during the colonial era. .

Prior to working at VMFA, Ezeluomba consulted for the installation Elusive Spirits: African Masquerades (2015) at the University of Florida’s Harn Museum of Art. Ezeluomba also worked with the Harn Museum curatorial team to produce Kongo Across the Waters (2013), a major traveling exhibition that used an interdisciplinary approach to explore the art of the Kongo peoples of Central Africa and the transmission of their culture through the transatlantic slave trade. in American art.

Raised in Benin City, Nigeria, where he first trained as an artist, Ezeluomba earned his doctorate. in Art History from the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 2017, he won the University of Florida Graduate School Doctoral Thesis Award for his thesis, Olokun Shrines: Their Functions in the Culture of the Benin Speaking People of Southern Nigeria. Ezeluomba graduated from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, completing his master’s thesis focusing on contemporary Nigerian sculptor Obi Ekwenchi. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in fine and applied arts from the University of Benin.”

Recognized internationally as one of the leading curators and scholars in his field, Ezeluomba has contributed to numerous publications, including Black Art Quarterly; journal of African arts; Hyperallergic; Routledge Encyclopedia of African Studies; African Artists: 1882 to Today (Phaidon) and Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. His essay Cultural Patrimony and Discussion of the 1897 Invasion of Benin Kingdom: Some Questions for Arts Management will appear in the forthcoming publication Art Management and Cultural Policy across the African Diaspora. Ezeluomba was also co-author of The Arts of Africa: Studying and Conserving the Collection (2021), the product of an innovative collaboration between VMFA curators and curators, supported by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Other recently published books include Benin Art: Changes through Time and Space in The Literature and Arts of the Niger Delta (2021); and The Development of the Exhibition of African Art in American Museums: A Strategy for Engaging the Recent Debate on the Repatriation of Cultural Assets from Benin in Museum Innovation: Building More Equitable, Relevant, and Impactful Museums (2020).

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