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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 12:07 am | Fair 41º


African Art Exhibit Includes Pieces From Local Couple’s Travels

Westmont neighbors Fima and Jere Lifshitz, who have collected African art for 40 years, are exhibiting a number of their pieces Feb. 8 through March 24 at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art.

An opening reception for Africa Through Its Sculpture: Highlights From the Lifshitz Collection will be 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at the museum, 955 La Paz Road, Santa Barbara.

The exhibit will be thematically organized according to topics, including Zoomorphic Forms, Powerful Figures, Royalty, Portraits, Deities and Beliefs, Images of Women, Passages, and the Rediscovery of Nok.

The ancient Nok culture is the Iron Age civilization that flourished during the first century before Christ in the area of modern Nigeria, Westmont said.

Over the past several decades, the couple has steadily accumulated an impressive collection of modern and contemporary African art, modern and contemporary European art, Latin American art, ceramics, and outdoor sculptures, Westmont said.

Last fall, the couple loaned artwork to the exhibit Guatemala from 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960-Present.

Judy Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director; and Chris Rupp, museum collection manager, were invited to the Lifshitz home.

“We were amazed by the depth and scope of the collection,” Larson said. “They graciously opened their home to Westmont students in my museum studies course last semester, where they discussed the joys of building a collection.”

“We hope this exhibition will offer an educational introduction to the history, culture, and diversity within African art to Westmont and the community.”

The exhibit will be accompanied by a separate display of African masks downstairs.

“The English department and a few others have intentionally expanded their coverage of African themes in recent years, and this exhibit can certainly enhance our community’s engagement with the aesthetic and intellectual worlds of Africa," said Provost Mark Sargent.

— Scott Craig for Westmont College.


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