The Newark Museum is preparing for the 2017 reinstallation of the arts of Global Africa collection in the Museum’s main gallery on the first floor, which coincides with the centennial of the collection. But in the meantime, there are new works to see in the current galleries located on the second floor, including recent acquisitions. The reinstallation is part of a two-year celebration of the Museum’s collection of African art.
The most dramatic addition is a new gallery dedicated to video art, featuring A Land So Far (2010) by artist Zak Ové, which was acquired by the Museum last year.
Based on contemporary celebrations of Carnival in Trinidad, Ové combines footage in mirrored frames to create a kaleidoscopic landscape of intertwining masqueraders. The video begins with daytime parades of masked characters dancing through the streets of the city of Port of Spain, accompanied by the sounds of drumming. It then shifts to the nighttime performances in the hills of Paramin where battling “blue devils” – performers with bodies covered in indigo blue dye – spout streams from lit cans of aerosol, ending with an explosion of flames in the sky.