By Gay Paris
Through African Eyes: The European in African Art, 1500 to Present is the focus of this year’s Bal Africain® fundraiser at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). April 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. beginning with a VIP cocktail reception from 6–7 p.m. A strolling dinner is available from 7–10 p.m., and dancing begins at 8 p.m.
Guests will be treated to a live performance by Jerry LeDuff, Mark Stone and Kofi Ameyaw, American and African musicians that unite American-jazz sounds of vibraphone, drums and electric bass with the richness of African marimba, kalimba and hand drums.
“In addition to enjoying delicious food and lively entertainment, this year’s guests will have the pleasure and privilege of being the first to see our ground-breaking exhibition Through African Eyes,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “Dr. Nii Quarcoopome, DIA curator of African art, has brought together some of the best African art in the world, including many of our own objects, to illustrate how African artists expressed their dynamic interactions with Europeans and Westerners over 500 years.”
Through African Eyes will be open for viewing throughout the evening. The exhibition provides riveting visual commentaries on five centuries of interactions between Africans and Europeans and Westerners—from early commercial relations to founding of European permanent settlements to European colonial rule to recent post-independence interactions with the West. By casting the European as the cultural “other,” the exhibition reverses longstanding Eurocentric perspectives that have dominated African art studies. African voices, heard through recorded oral histories and personal experiences of African elders and artists, provide their own perspectives on the meanings of the objects and motivations behind their creation.
Tickets for bal Africain are $200, and $350 for the viP cocktail reception. For tickets, call 313-833-1049.