Kent State Showcases The View From Here: Contemporary Perspectives From Senegal

Combining his passions of art history and African studies, Joseph Underwood, Ph.D, assistant professor in the School of Art, wanted to bring something to Kent State that could speak to different audiences, ranging from the international to the local, from Senegal to Northeast Ohio.

Dr. Underwood is the curator of The View From Here: Contemporary Views From Senegal and brought this exhibition to Kent State on Jan. 17.

The View From Here: Contemporary Perspectives From Senegal is an exhibition that features artwork created since 2010 in a variety of media created by 11 artists from Africa and its Diaspora. The exhibition has traveled from Dakar, Senegal to the Wright Museum of Art in Beloit, Wisconsin, and now resides at Kent State University.

Dr. Underwood has an expertise in African art, specifically from Senegal. All of the artwork and artists displayed in the exhibition have some connection with Senegal.

“It is important for the art organizations in and around Kent to reflect the diversity of peoples and cultures in our region,” said Dr. Underwood. “I wanted something that could speak to two different audiences: the international audience that gathers every two years for the Dakar Biennale, a major celebration of African art on the African continent, and the audience that makes up my new home here in Northeast Ohio.”

Dr. Underwood believes “our community is best served when we study, discuss and valorize things that are excellent.” This exhibition, he said, “is for Kent State community members who would say, ‘I don’t know anything about Africa or contemporary art.’ If you come and engage, the artwork will meet you where you are.”

“These artists and their work can inspire us to be more collaborative and look for things happening beyond our own horizons,” said Dr. Underwood.

Dr. Underwood employed three Kent State students pursuing a degree in Art History, Abby Hermosilla, Rachel Lieberman and Brooke Pandrea, as curatorial assistants. The group worked together to write essays, interview artists and help layout the exhibition. “I’m very proud of what the three curatorial assistants were able to develop in a group setting and in the smaller projects where they took the lead,” said Dr. Underwood.

They created a catalogue, “The View From Here: Contemporary Perspectives From Senegal” to showcase the exhibition. The book includes two essays, an artist interview, and many high-quality pictures of the artwork.

The exhibition hosted many programs and events. The final event is a screening of the film “Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Léopold Senghor” by Manthia Diawara, followed by a discussion, in Oscar Ritchie Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:00 PM.

The exhibition will be on view at the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery at Kent State from Jan. 17 through Feb. 22, 2019.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit

To learn more about the upcoming events, visit


POSTED: Monday, February 18, 2019 - 10:09am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 6:28pm
Olivia Boris