March 21, 2014
14-94

Malynda Dorsey
Communications Specialist

Art in Odum Gallery Opening Features Amalia Amaki

Amalia AmakiVALDOSTA – Valdosta State University will hold an Art in Odum gallery opening on the third floor of Odum Library Monday, March 31 from 2 to 4 p.m. The event includes the opening of the university’s Valdosta Artists gallery and the Songye collection of African art, as well as a featured presentation from the nationally recognized artist, Amalia Amaki.

During the event, Amaki will discuss art and inclusion, in accordance with VSU's yearlong "50 Years of Integration: A Celebration of Inclusion". Amaki is held in high regard at VSU for having created its signature piece, “Dances with Books.” The work features two children dancing on books including one book on the life of the late William H. Mobley, a longtime donor and supporter of Odum Library.

“Mr. Mobley had given the library at least $1 million worth of books for our collection over many years,” said Davis. “After his death, we were given funds by his family. We matched the family’s gift with the VSU art funding pool, and then approached galleries and artists about developing a tribute to Mr. Mobley. We wanted an artist from Georgia, and we wanted the content to relate to books in some way. We were thrilled to find Amalia Amaki.  The piece created by Amaki is now permanently hung in an alcove near the south entrance to the library.”

Amaki has exhibited work in shows throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa and South America. She has been a National Endowment for the Arts fellow and has received art grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts, Fulton County Arts Council and the City of Atlanta. She has also received commendations for her contributions to the arts from former Georgia Secretary of State Lewis Massey, former Gov. Sonny Perdue and former first lady Laura Bush.

Amaki will be joined by others to celebrate the opening of the two new galleries.

“The addition of these galleries brings the total to five throughout the library,” Davis said. “Art can be viewed on all four floors of the library.”

African ArtThe Valdosta Artist gallery features sculptures, digital art, acrylic, oil, watercolors and prints created over the past five decades from various area artists, including past and present faculty and students.

“This collection is special because it showcases talent that has touched the university directly in some way, and we are likely to know these artists,” Deborah Davis, certified archivist, director of the university’s Archives and Special Collections and chairwoman of the Library Art Committee. “At least four of the VSU’s former student artists are represented – at least three of whom are professional artists now. Their work is exciting and really adds a lot to the gallery.”

Many of the artists represented in the gallery will attend the event.

A permanent installation of art from the Democratic Republic of the Congo donated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the African art exhibit includes arts masks and power figures.

“In addition to 33 dramatic sculptures, the collection also includes banners of field drawings of the collection by Elantu Veovode, a Valdosta artist,” said Davis. “Looking at this art and the power behind it just speaks to you. It is probably some of the most commanding art we have.”

Refreshments will be served during the event.

For more information on the exhibits or the gallery opening, visit http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/library/depts/archives-and-special-collections/exhibits/ or call (229) 333-7150.