"Dream Africa" Coming to the ARTWORKS Gallery


"Dream, Africa," a multiple media exhibition, opened at Mercer County Community College’s ARTWORKS Gallery in Trenton on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The show, which will remain on view through Saturday, Oct. 15, features paintings by Nancie Gunkelman, photographs by Diane Levell and sculpture by J.C. Sarpong. A reception for the artists will be held Friday, Oct. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m., coinciding with Trenton’s “Second Friday” events. A gallery talk takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.

“Those of us who have not been lucky enough to visit the vast and wondrous continent of Africa, and to experience first-hand the rich, varied cultures and daily traditions of its people, find ourselves depending on a patchwork of images, illusions, and impressions from books, television, and the news,” says Tricia Fagan, MCCC’s Gallery curator. “In this show, we are very pleased to offer three unique perspectives on Africa by three artists who have either come from Africa or who have spent significant time on the continent.”

Nancie Gunkelman (Monroe Township, NJ) holds degrees in both fine arts and zoology. Throughout the 1970s and 80s she spent more than half her time living, working, and traveling in African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, and Sao Tome and Principe. “Inspired by this experience,” she said, “I have tried to capture in my oil paintings everyday life in the developing world.” Gunkelman, who studies with Steve Kennedy at ARTWORKS, is also Commissioner of Monroe Township’s Cultural Arts Commission.

Photographer and artist Diane Levell (Doylestown, PA) spent the years between 1981 and 1996 living in Germany and Turkey, and traveling extensively throughout both Europe and northern Africa. Using a 4” x 5” view camera, Levell sought to capture the people and their customary practices in countries that include Moroco and Algiers. “I use a variety of historic photo processes when developing my work,” she said, “because it seems to enhance and honor the feel of tradition that colors so much of daily life in these places.”

J.C. Sarpong (Trenton, NJ) was born in the West African country of Ghana where he received a BA in sculpture from the University of Science and Technology. After working for Ghana’s National Center for Arts and Culture for a few years, he traveled to the USA on a grant to study bronze casting and fabrication techniques at the Johnson Atelier in Hamilton. He was a member of the ARTWORKS faculty in the early 90s, and continues to create bronze sculptures at his home studio in Trenton. “My work pursues themes common in the traditional religions, such as music, chieftancy, occupations, and daily rituals of both the people of Ghana and Africa as a whole,” he said. His beautiful, figurative bronze statues incorporate symbolic and conceptual imagery along with the human image.

The ARTWORKS building is located on Stockton Street between Market and Front Streets in Trenton, directly across the street from the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles building, just off route 1 south. For more information call ARTWORKS at 609-394-9436 between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

ARTWORKS Gallery Open Hours
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For possible additional hours or to arrange group visits, please call 609-394-9436.

This exhibit is funded, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural & Heritage Commission through the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Mercer County Board of Freeholders.

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