UMUC Exhibit Evokes Jazz and African Symbolism

When James Phillips saw his acrylic painting on canvas “Sankofa II” (1997-8) installed at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the Baltimore artist and associate art professor at Howard University crossed his arms and carefully inspected it.

Melanee Harvey, an art history Ph.D. candidate who accompanied Phillips on his NMAAHC visit, said she wondered what he was looking for. And Phillips told her, “I’m just making sure I got my lines right.”Continue Reading

For UMUC’s Key, New Museum Fills a Void

When those passing by or browsing the web first set eyes on the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the newest Smithsonian museum that opened Sept. 24, 2016, on the National Mall mere steps from the Washington Monument, they often see echoes of a slave ship in the building’s architecture.

But visitors to the museum learn the real architectural inspiration behind the bronze-colored and tiered layering of the building when they tour its top floor galleries.Continue Reading

Exhibit Offers Historic Perspective on the Horrors of War

“The Colossus,” an 1818-25 work in the collection of the Museo del Prado, is one of the scariest paintings attributed to the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. In it, mayhem has broken out on the ground and people and animals disperse in all directions as fighting seems to dominate the landscape. But the figures appear as mere ants compared to the  giant—his nudity obscured by clouds—that towers above the scene. Fists raised, the giant is reminiscent of the war-god Mars.Continue Reading

UMUC Exhibit Features 60 Maryland-Region Artists

Lesa Cook’s terra cotta sculpture “Bacchus as Uninvited Houseguest” (2015) comes as advertised. Naked per custom, the Roman god of wine lies on a couch. A laurel wreath and grapes adorn his head. He holds a cup in his hand; his gut is appropriately proportioned for the patron saint of gluttony. The mustachioed figure resembles a familiar uncle, not a denizen of Olympus.Continue Reading

Chumbow Advocates for Fellow Human Trafficking Survivors

When Evelyn Chumbow answered her phone one day last August, the voice on the other end of the line said, “This is the White House calling.” Obviously, a proverbial joke. “I [thought], ‘This is a lie.’ I said, ‘OK. How did you get my number?’” But when Chumbow Googled the caller’s name, she realized, “Oh wow. This is the White House.”Continue Reading