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African inspiration drives newest student art exhibit

July 7, 2012

By MATT CRANE
sdnlife@bellsouth.net

The Colvard Student Union Art Gallery will premiere its second summer exhibition Monday with works from artist Herve Sanghapi in a new show titled “Afritude.”

Sponsored by the Mississippi State University African Students Association, Sanghapi’s paintings are designed to illustrate and explore African culture, a mission Sanghapi said rests at the core of the ASA.

“The (ASA) was made for integration into life on campus, and some people have misconceptions and stereotypes about Africa,” Sanghapi said. “We want to dispel those stereotypes.”

Born and raised in Cameroon, Sanghapi said he has been at MSU for two years and is currently a graduate student in the physics department.
Sanghapi said the exhibit’s title is a common expression found within artistic circles throughout Africa which hails African cultural and tourist values.

“‘Afritude’ is used to show the importance culture plays in the sociopolitical life of a nation,” he said. “‘Afritude’ is ... that feeling of being African.”

Sanghapi said “Afritude” calls for the recognition of the history and rich culture found in the African identity, an issue he said he identified with having traveled and lived in different places around the world.

“Art depends on where you find yourself,” he said. “It’s about finding things that give you inspiration.”

Using both acrylic and oil based paints for his first exhibit, Sanghapi said the paintings featured range from abstract cultural interpretations to realistic images of African landscapes and people, including former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.

Sanghapi said the paintings will be made available for purchase as fundraiser for the ASA.

In his promotional brochure for the exhibit, Sanghapi references the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which translated means, “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

“It’s a quest for identity,” he said. “‘Afritude’ is a philosophy by itself, and is the quest to knowing where we come from.”

“Afritude” closes Aug. 31. A public reception will be held 4-6 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Union art gallery.

For more information on the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery, visit http://www.union.msstate.edu or call 662-325-2930.

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