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Tumelo Mosaka on New Opa-locka Art Exhibit “Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculptures from Africa”

By David Rolland, The Jitney

Through August 28 a brand-new art exhibition Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculptures from Africa will be shown at the ARC, at 675 Ali-Baba Avenue in Opa-locka. The free exhibit will give visitors a nice introduction to African art. Curator Tumelo Mosaka hopped on the Jitney to tell us more about what to expect.

What inspired Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculptures from Africa?

Tumelo Mosaka: In 2018 gallerist and art dealer, Bill Karg donated a collection of Contemporary African Art to Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC). The collection is important to OLCDC because it offers a lens into looking at the influence of Africa within the contemporary. Given the history of Opa-locka influenced by North Africa, this collection further extended the dialogue of past and present cultural connections and how we continue to grapple with misconceptions of Africa’s contribution to global culture. The exhibition “Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculpture from Africa” is focused on the three dimensional work from the collection. It features 40 works of art including stone Shona carvings from Zimbabwe, ebony Makonde carvings from Mozambique and Tanzania, and a selection of drawings by Malangatana Valente Ngwenya from Mozambique and Ouattara Watts from Ivory Coast.

What was your process in selecting the art chosen for the exhibition?

The selection of works in the exhibition “Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculpture from Africa” was mainly influenced by trying to understand the relationships between the different works in the collection. While some artists chose to fragment and distort the figure, others depicted nature as the primary source to describe their human condition. At the same time, the material was important to see the level of craftsmanship, which is fast evolving as technology becomes the source of material in the 21st Century.

What are some of the interactive programs that coincide with this exhibition?

The exhibition “Beyond Tradition: Contemporary Sculpture from Africa” includes an educational resource center where visitors can look at research texts, children’s books and a series of short films focused on the artwork in the exhibition. The exhibition is located at the Opa-locka ARC, 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, FL 33054. Guests can book a free ticket at or attend on Second Saturdays from 1-5pm when there will be a monthly program including an Afrobeats Dance Party, African Marketplace, African Textile Workshop and more.

Much of the art is from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, where do you recommend (books, websites) people should go to learn more about their art?

Resources that can be found in the exhibition’s educational resource center include books and short films featuring the sculptural traditions and practice of the Shona people from Zimbabwe, and Makonde from Mozambique and Tanzania.

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