Photographers' show offers glimpse of Cuba, W. Africa

CHAMPAIGN – The next Parkland Art Gallery exhibition, opening Monday, will feature documentary photographs of Cuba and Senegal.

"People and Places Revealed: The Documentary Photography of Kerry Stuart Coppin and Amanda McCadams" will remain on display through Feb. 14. The artists' reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, with McCadams giving a talk about her work. Refreshments will be served, and Matthew Watt will perform live music.

While working in Cuba on a U.S. research visa in 2005, McCadams visited eight provinces and took photographs in more than 30 museums. Her images are from war, maritime, provincial, natural history, hero birthplaces, rum, tobacco, religious and music museums.

"I documented an immense amount of subject matter, resulting in a unique perspective of a country that is narrowly understood by Americans," she said.

McCadams said her photographs allow her to build a visual narrative that is a metaphor for the ideas that sculpt the growth of Cuba.

She earned her master of fine arts degree in photography at the University of Georgia and her bachelor's degree in photography and Spanish from Middle Tennessee State University. She lives in Nashville, Tenn., where she teaches at the Watkins College of Art & Design.

Coppin, professor of art and African studies at Brown University, took photographs in urban West Africa and of the diaspora. He said his aim is "to pursue visual interpretation of the black urban experience in Africa, as it may be used to shape a reinterpretation of our understanding of the African continent and its rich potential.

"We may choose to allow language or allow culture, national borders, and economic and political systems of government to separate and alienate us," he said. "Or we can choose to use all the systems of contemporary society/post-modern world, including systems of art, as tools to forge unions between the many diverse and disparate communities of African descent in the New World and around the globe.

"My visual research – humanistic photography – is an attempt to use artistic discipline to provoke and inspire a meaningful dialogue aimed at change: to change the perception of Africa, her people, countries and communities, around the globe, as a means to creating physical, spiritual, social, political and economic change."

Parkland's exhibit-related lecture series continues with McCadams speaking in depth about her work at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Parkland Art Gallery in addition to speaking during the reception that evening. Also, Ibrahima Ndoye, professor of humanities and foreign language at Parkland College, will talk about the Parkland study abroad program in Senegal this summer.

The Parkland Art Gallery at 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed Jan. 21 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For information, call 351-2485, or visit online www.parkland.edu/gallery.

To find the gallery when classes are in session, use the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter any door and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.

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