“We, each of us, make choices every day that relate to the land beneath our feet. Where we come from informs who we consider ourselves to be. What we throw out affects what this land of ours will be in the future. These issues are not African; they are global, but looking through the lens of Africa we can all better understand the human relationship to the landscape and its significance to the history of African art.”

                                                                     -Earth Matters curator Karen E. Milbourne

Welcome to the blog for Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa! With approximately 100 diverse works of art, as well as, for the first time at the Smithsonian, three works of land art in the Smithsonian’s historic Enid A. Haupt Garden, Earth Matters will be on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art from April 22nd, 2013 through January 5th, 2014. (For more info, please visit http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/earthmatters/index.html.)

Featuring artworks from ca. 1800 to the contemporary moment, Earth Matters explores the direct, profound, and visually mediated relationship between individuals and communities and the land upon which they live, work, and frame their days. The issues that define our era – territorial dispute, environmentalism – have at their heart the human relationship to the earth.

Check back often for behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of an international show like Earth Matters and for highlights from the National Museum of African Art’s vast, fascinating photographic archives. Guest bloggers from around the Smithsonian and the world will discuss how they interact with the earth on a daily basis – often in surprising ways. Share your perspective in the comments, and let us know how the earth matters to you.

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