Black History Month art exhibit at Fairleigh Dickinson University
“The Art of Dance,” an exhibition of works by Mansa K. Mussa, a dance photographer and artist, will be shown Monday, January 23 through Friday, March 9, 2012 at the Library gallery of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham in Madison, New Jersey, during library hours.
Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 2:00-10:00 p.m. An opening reception and artist’s lecture will be held 3:00–5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21st, in the Orangérie. Admission is free.
In honor of Black History Month the one-man exhibition will include black-and-white and color photographs, collages, and shadow boxes, selected from the artist’s oeuvre spanning thirty-five years of dance photography. His collection includes photographs representing over one hundred dance companies from around the world. “The Art of Dance” celebrates the spirit of dance, as captured on film and JPEG, and with some images transformed into dynamic graphics and collages.
Included in the exhibit is “Evidence of Evolution,” a series of nine-by-nine-inch shadow boxes which contain photographs, objects of art, fabric, and found objects. As a visual artist, Mussa became intrigued with the prospect of transforming photographs from the flat, one-dimensional surface of the photographic paper, by creating tableaux with dancers frozen in challenging and unlikely environments. The series has been the focus of his collage work for the past ten years.
“Art and photography always seemed very natural to me, but dance changed my life because it required a level of physical and mental training that became a catalyst to my overall development as an artist. Dancers are the athletes of the arts, and among the most talented of all artists,” states Mussa. “My career as a concert dancer allowed me to become a dance instructor, musician, singer, set, lighting and costume designer, and administrator.”
A native of Newark and a resident of West Orange, Mussa has worked professionally as a photographer, concert dancer, percussionist, graphic designer, fabric artist, writer, and installation artist. In addition to his work as a visual and performing artist, he has been an arts educator for the Newark Museum, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newark, Arts Horizons, Arts Unbound, the Alvin Ailey Arts in Education Program and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He is a graduate of New Jersey City University, and studied visual art with Ben Jones, traditional African dance with Rhonda C. Morman, and photography with the late Tim Reiss.
For further information, contact: Eleanor Friedl, FDU Library Reference Department, 973.443.8516.