Collectors Circle Lecture: Ramona Austin
Ramona Austin is one of the country’s foremost curators of African and African American self-taught art. At the MFA, she will explore “A Design for Living: The Lozenge Motif in Kongo and African American Art.” This motif is a diamond of diverse forms that conveys the interrelationship of the natural, human, and spiritual worlds. She will examine how this motif has been adapted in America.
An innovator throughout her career, Ms. Austin has established curatorial positions at major museums and universities and helped build their collections. She was the Associate Curator for African Art in the Department of the Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Margaret McDermott Associate Curator for African Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, and currently the Curator for the new Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
In addition, Ms. Austin has been the Director of the Hampton University Museum and Archives, also in Virginia. Established in 1868, this museum is one of America’s oldest, initiated two of the first collections of African and African American art, and also includes Asian and Native American objects. The archives are a national treasure, chronicling the history of both African Americans and Native Americans. Ms. Austin has also been a museum specialist for the U.S. State Department to the National Museums of Nigeria and to the National Museum of Uganda.
Education has been central to Ms. Austin’s career. She has conducted workshops and lectures around the globe, designed curricula and instructional materials for students of all ages, and collaborated on videos. She has written numerous catalogue and journal essays, including for Raw Vision and the Folk Art Messenger.
Ms. Austin holds her BA in English from Simpson College in Iowa and a BFA in theatre, with a double major in acting and directing, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She earned her MA and MPhil in art history from Yale University, where she studied with Robert Farris Thompson, one of the country’s most influential scholars of African American art and cultural history.
Open to the Public. Free with Museum Admission.
Sponsored by: Northern Trust