This work was selected by Nolan Davidge (class of 2017), who explains: “Following a survey course on African Art History, I took an interest in Ethiopian artwork, particularly Ethiopian Christian art. Zerihun Yetmgeta was the only Ethiopian contemporary artist I found while browsing the collection, and the large scale and nuanced content of Wax and Gold appealed to my personal aesthetic and academic sensibilities. Yetmgeta’s work integrates contemporary artistic practices with historical subject matter. I feel that this type of piece facilitates dialogue about the nature of cultural identity and how artists express that identity.
In line with our museum’s practice of displaying significant works from innumerable cultures, I believe that it is vital for museums to continue to display, value, and educate visitors on non-Western artists. The legacy of Eurocentrism in art history still looms large over us today, and my hope is that institutions like the MSU Broad will play a part in breaking down that bias.”
The Vault, which also houses some of the works from our permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. Each month, one of our student gallery guides selects a piece from our collection and writes a short text explaining why they chose it and believe it should be displayed. By providing our gallery guides with an opportunity to participate in the curatorial process of selection and display, we aim to open a dialogue with the student community while simultaneously sharing with the public works from the collection that would otherwise remain in storage.