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"Amalia Amaki: Boxes, Buttons and the Blues"
2005-06-10 until 2005-09-25
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Washington, DC, USA

Amalia Amaki: Boxes, Buttons and the Blues, a mixed-media exhibition presented chronologically in three thematic sections, features photographs, quilts, souvenir fans, mixed media works, and digitally manipulated photographs. Incorporating fabric, beads, pearls, buttons, paint, and glitter, Amaki, in many of her works, turns found objects, photographs, and quilts into playful visual puns. Her beaded and button encrusted heart-shaped candy boxes, for example, are full of tempting faux chocolates made from buttons.

A mid-career retrospective, this exhibition examines the breadth of Amalia Amakiís (b. 1949) work spanning more than three decades. Drawing from such sources as blues music, photography, familial history, and American heritage, Amakiís work challenges traditional views of African American culture and focuses on positive images of African American life Ė love, loyalty, pride, and strength. Amakiís work examines the cultural contributions that black people continually make in America as well as addresses cultural issues relevant to African American life.

Amalia Amaki is an artist, art historian, curator, and scholar of American art and culture. Perhaps best known for mixed media quilts that celebrate the lives of African American women blues singers and button-encrusted cyanotypes, Amaki is also recognized for commissions completed for Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, Absolut Vodka, and Seagramís Gin. She earned a Bachelorís degree in journalism from Georgia State University, a Bachelorís degree in photography and painting from the University of New Mexico, and a Doctorate from the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University. Currently she is the Curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection and Assistant Professor in Art, Art History, and Black American Studies at the University of Delaware. Her work is in the permanent collections at numerous museums including the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), the Minnesota Museum of Art, Emory University (Atlanta, GA), and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art (Atlanta, GA).

IMAGE
Amalia Amaki,
Blue Lady, detail, 2004,
color photograph,
28" x 30"


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