Uganda to Lynchburg: African Culture Brought Home

Published by The Critograph on Sept. 7, 2016
Katherine Graves, Assistant Editor-

Africa House

The Africa House, an art studio and gallery, exhibits African art and artists to showcase African culture. Photo by Katherine Graves. Sept. 5, 2016.

Ubuntu, an art exhibition showcasing Ugandan inspired artwork, will be held Sept. 11 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Africa House in downtown Lynchburg.

The exhibition will consist of local artist Megan Davies’ journals, photographs and a few paintings of her trips to Uganda and her grandmother local artist Pat Dougherty’s paintings interpreting Davies’ photography.

Local artist Hiawatha Johnson and the Randolph College Heritage Ensemble will also perform spoken word and music. There will be an artists’ talk at 3 p.m. The exhibition will run from Sept. 11 until Oct. 8, according to the Africa House website.

“[Ubuntu is the Ugandan] concept of: you are because I am, and I am because you are,” Davies said.

Davies spent nearly a year altogether, over the course of three trips, in Uganda. She went to Uganda initially for a week to do mission work with the Children’s HopeChest. She returned and interned in medical work for six months and again for three more months.

In the exhibition, Davies will have photographs, journals that include drawings and lists to remember events and one oil, one watercolor and two acrylic paintings.

Dougherty, who influenced Davies’ artistic history, will have mixed media, oil and acrylic paintings in the exhibition, Dougherty said.

“She’s always been a big part of my art growth,” Davies said of her grandmother.

Davies’ and Dougherty’s relationship together, through art, in their lives and in how they’ve worked together in this exhibition further illustrates the concept of ubuntu and interconnectedness, Davies said.

Davies stated that she hopes that people realize from the show that we are all more alike than we realize.

The Africa House is an art studio and gallery that specifically features African art and artists, according to the Africa House’s Facebook page. It opened in 2008 after local artist Ann Van de Graaf purchased the property from the Virginia University of Lynchburg.

“Africa House endeavors to bring exhibits of work by both established and emerging artists to the Lynchburg community and beyond. Being located adjacent to a Historically Black College, The Virginia University of Lynchburg, it is particularly interested in showing work by African Americans and other ethnic groups,” according to the Africa House’s Facebook page.

In July of 2016, the Ambassador for the Democratic Republic of the Congo visited the Africa House and African Ota Benga’s likely grave site and places he had lived, according to the Africa House website.

The Africa House is located at 2238 Garfield Ave. in downtown Lynchburg. Regular hours of operation are from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Parking is along the street. Students looking to get involved in events at the Africa House can visit the house’s website at http://www.africahouse.org/ or contact the Van de Graaf at africahouselynchburg@gmail.com.

To view Davies’ blogs about her experiences in Uganda, you can look online at http://dustyorangeroads.blogspot.com/.

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