(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – January 18, 2012) - - - Maury County native, Rusty Vest, and Columbia State Community College, Professor Tom Halquist, have joined forces to bring an outstanding collection of African artifacts, photography and paintings together for the February 2012 exhibit in the Pryor Art Gallery on the campus of Columbia State.
“We are so fortunate that Rusty and Tom have agreed to share their collections with us,” stated Lucy Scott Kuykendall, Curator for the Pryor Art Gallery. “Exhibited together, the ancient art forms and current interpretations tell a story of a living Africa. These pieces provide and insight into cultures far removed in time and place,” continued Kuykendall.
Vest’s collection, which he has been building for nearly 20 years, is made up of objects of both ritual and daily use created by generations of sub-Saharan tribes. Some pieces, made from perishable materials, such as wood, feathers, and grasses, represent forms developed, repeated, and passed down through the generations. Others pieces, made of metal, stone, and terra cotta are truly ancient and similarly represent ancient traditional forms and techniques. Many items in the collection are manifestations of a collective reverence for ancestors, initiation rituals, or preparation for the hunt or war. The pieces are termed African Art, but they more precisely were used for ceremonies and were not decorative in intent, rather they represented tradition, order, and continuity within a tribe or culture. Each piece will be displayed with its history, when known, and a map with place of origin.
Tom Halquist is a speech instructor at both Columbia State and Belmont University, and is actively involved with mission work in the area of the Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. “Tom’s experiences with these people and their ongoing struggles with war, disease, and environment, combined with their determination to create better lives, are captured in the photographs and paintings he shares in this exhibit,” said Kuykendall. In addition to the images, Halquist will display tribal artifacts that were given to him in appreciation for his work in these countries along with sculptures, clothing and jewelry from current artisans whose art is being marketed and sold in hopes of raising monies to better lives in local African communities.
On Thursday, February 16, Vest and Halquist will speak at a reception, which is free and open to the public. The reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Pryor Gallery. For more information on the reception or the exhibit, please contact Lucy Scott Kuykendall at 931-540-2833.
The Pryor Art Gallery is located in the Waymon L. Hickman building on Columbia State’s Columbia Campus. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The gallery is also open on weekends during special events. For more information on the events held in Pryor Art Gallery, call (931) 540-2883.