News and Events

Ruth Ketterer Harris Lecture

2019 | Henry Drewal

“Come to your senses! Understanding arts everywhere… and the arts of Yoruba people in particular”

Image: Dr. Henry Drewal dances with Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, at its African Art Awards event in October 2018.

Image: Dr. Henry Drewal dances with Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, former director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, at its African Art Awards event in October 2018.

This presentation invites the audience to come to its “sense-abilities” in its engagements with the arts. People feel and think with their “body-mind,” an idea whose universal relevance Dr. Drewal explores by way of the arts of the Yoruba in West Africa. The lecture will be preceded by an opening performance by an Egungun ensemble and followed by a reception featuring music by the Afro-Peruvian group Golpe Tierra and West African cuisine from Les Délices de Awa.

Learn more, and let us know you’re interested.

About Henry Drewal

Since 1991, Dr. Henry John Drewal has been the Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He researches and teaches about African and African Diasporic arts and culture, as well as African-American arts, with a particular specialty in the arts of the Yoruba-speaking peoples of West Africa and the African Diasporas. Over the years, his work has earned him the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, several NEH/NEA grants, two Fulbright fellowships (Brazil and Benin), and a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. He is the founding member of the African Studies Association’s Arts Council and has curated many exhibits across the U.S. and internationally, including the Chazen Museum’s permanent gallery of African art that opened in 2012. He co-authored and edited award-winning publications including Beads, Body, and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe (1998) and Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and Other Water Divinities in Africa and the Diaspora (2008).

About the lecture: Since 1992, we have sponsored free, annual lecture series featuring talks by textile historians, contemporary artists, museum curators, scholars, and collectors. The series was named in honor of Collection’s first curator, Ruth Ketterer Harris.

Past Lecturers

Block print2018- Marina Moskowitz

Gossips, Garlands, and Thirty-Four Cows: The Modern Folk Aesthetic of the Folly Cove Textile Designs

CLICK HERE to watch the lecture, courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television, University Place

Noa Raviv fashion design Hard Copy collection2017- Noa Raviv

The Power of Mistakes

Ricketts indigo blue photo2016- Rowland Ricketts

Making: A World of Blue

Map from Elena Phipps Harris lecture2015- Elena Phipps

Global Color: Textiles, Dyes, and Colors in the Interwoven Globe, 16th-18th centuries

Lurex Liebes advertisement2014- Patrice George

Seven Fibers that Changed the World


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