New MassMu Exhibition—Home Again: The Embodiment of Africa through Art and Fabric

New MassMu Exhibition—Home Again: The Embodiment of Africa through Art and Fabric
The Massillon Museum’s new main gallery exhibition, Home Again: The Embodiment of Africa through Art and Fabric, will open on Saturday, March 23. It will continue through Sunday, May 19. Contemporary paintings, head wraps, mixed media artwork, and sculpture will complement MassMu’s 2024 NEA Big Read book selection Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Chesley Antoinette, Chepape Makgato, Woodrow Nash, Francine Murphy-Terry, and artists from the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective will be represented in the exhibition. The artists’ reception will be held on Saturday, April 6, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., concurrent with the NEA Big Read kickoff event. 
Free copies of Homegoing will be available at the kickoff. The event marks the opening reception for two additional exhibitions: Family Means to Me and Monica Jane Frisell and Adam Scher: Portrait of US, which also complement the Big Read. Massillon Public Library, which has partnered with MassMu on the NEA Big Read for 17 years, will have its Bookmobile at the event.
A free Home Again Artist and Curator Panel will be hosted at MassMu on Saturday, April 27, at 3:00 p.m. The live virtual keynote with Yaa Gyasi will be stream on the Museum’s Facebook page on May 2, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
About the Artists
Chesley Antoinette, a native Texan, earned a BFA in sculpture at Stephen F. Austin University and an MFA in fiber arts from the University of North Texas. Her Cantoinette Studios conceptualizes sustainable practices in sculptural installations, wearable art, and curatorial projects. Her current body of work explores 18th-century North America through turban headwraps.
Chepape Makgato, a Polokwane/Kimberley, South Africa, native, is an independent artist, art historian, curator, and arts writer for online publications. His vibrant mixed media paintings have been shown in Africa, Europe, and North America. In 2018, he was a featured artist in residence at Zygote Press (Cleveland, OH). In 2021, he was named one of the top 200 Young South Africans in art, media, film, and entertainment by Mail & Guardian
Francine Murphy-Terry, an Ohio native who has studied art for more than sixty years, is an illustrator, textile artist, and muralist. Her work from Frannie Mae’s Closet pays homage to her roots in Selma, Alabama, where she visited former plantations, seeing scarecrows dressed in the clothing of passed-on family members. Her series of scarecrow-inspired works, “Frappé Sipps,” mimics the Murphy family after-church tradition of hosting family and friends for dinner and mint iced tea or frappé punch.
Woodrow Nash is a sculptor who integrates expression, complex symbolism, and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality. His work, which incorporates stoneware, earthenware, terracotta, or porcelain in his “African Nouveau” trademark style, is collected internationally. His collectors’ demographics have no racial boundaries, including everyone from working professionals to affluent sports figures and entertainment superstars. Shawn (Jay-Z) and Beyoncé Carter collect Nash’s artwork. 
The Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective has been producing quilts since the early 1800s, when the community was a cotton plantation owned by Joseph Gee. Enslaved pieced together quilts from strips of old fabric patterned after their memories of African textiles. Qunnie Pettway (1943–2010) is the featured Gee’s Bend artist in this exhibition. She, along with generations of Pettway women, is a well-known name associated with the Gee’s Bend tradition, which is world-renowned and collected by prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Huntington Museum of Art.
Among an array of additional Big Read events, MassMu will present PBS film screenings, book discussions, and a concert by Rev. Robert Jones Sr. Visit for details about MassMu, Massillon Public Library, and partner events.
NEA is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. 
This exhibition is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by John and Karen Maguire. Braille printing was provided courtesy of the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Museum is grateful for operating support from the Ohio Arts Council, ArtsinStark, and the citizens of Massillon.
Massillon Museum exhibitions can be seen during regular Museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.
The Massillon Museum, where art and history come together, is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in Massillon. For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit
Media Contacts:
Alexandra Nicholis Coon – Massillon Museum Executive Director  –  330.833.4061 x111
Stephanie Toole – Massillon Museum Education and Outreach Manager – 330.833.4061 x104 Margy Vogt  –  Massillon Museum Public Relations Coordinator  –  330.844.1525
Chesley Antoinette, Maria Juana,  2018, archival inkjet print on cotton paper.  On loan from the artist.

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