Art and Identity

Art and Identity

The Memorial Art Gallery presents two exhibitions of contemporary art that celebrate, honor, and educate visitors about indigenous and African cultures

Sky Hopinka: Memories of Movement

Through January 8, 2023

A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Sky Hopinka is an internationally recognized multimedia artist. Hopinka’s exhibition presents friendship, family, and travel as opportunities to reflect on what it means to be an Indigenous person in North America. The exhibition at MAG includes new work by the artist: a three-channel video installation, Here you are before the trees (2020), that focuses on the Indigenous histories of upstate New York and their relationships with other regions of the United States; an etched photograph (2021) of a group of friends together in an Adirondack landscape; and a large-scale calligram (2017), a design approach in which the layout of the text creates a visual image related to the meaning of the words themselves. In this case, the words written by anthropologist Paul Radin in 1923 form a flying goose and describe the Winnebago tribe. Learn more.

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

July 17 to October 23, 2022

This exhibit showcases a new form of bead art known as the ndwango (cloth), which was developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The black fabric on which the Ubuhle women work is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts that many of them grew up wearing. By stretching this textile like a canvas, the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form featuring colored Czech glass beads. Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages, and it describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that for the Xhosa people has a particular spiritual significance. Learn more.

Memorial Art Gallery logo
two hands clasped together
Sky Hopinka, Here you are before the trees, 2020 (still). HD video, stereo, color, 3-channel, synchronous loop, 12 minutes 44 seconds. Image courtesy of the artist.
a blue image of swirls and fish, comprised of individual glass beads
Ntombephi “Induna” Ntobela, My Sea, My Sister, My Tears, 2011, glass beads sewn onto fabric
Mark your calendar

Thursdays, 5 to 9 p.m.
Enjoy half-price museum admission every week.

Pride Celebration Day
July 16, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Join the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) for its annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

Find more MAG events.  

M&T Clothesline Festival
September 10 and 11
Attend this creative celebration and annual fundraiser on MAG grounds.

Get involved

Please contact Siri Baker, Director of Advancement, to learn how you can support the Memorial Art Gallery’s exhibitions and programs.

Find this story and more good things for University of Rochester alumni and friends in the summer 2022 issue of Buzz magazine.

June 2022