Art and Activism



Unspeakable, by Sana Musasama

“Unspeakable” art exhibit

 Bluffton University’s Grace Albrecht Gallery will host “Unspeakable Time, Art and Activism” by Sana Musasama.

The series features a collection of ceramic mixed-media pieces that pose an inquiry into the nature of violence and healing in women’s lives.

Musasama shares this story of the inspiration for the art: “Twenty-five years ago, while living in Mendeland, Sierra Leone, there was a group of young girls, ages 10-15, who would visit my hut every day. We began our rituals of sisterhood: they combed my hair, tried on my clothing and applied my makeup. They taught me the formal greetings in Mende, how to sit like a Mende woman, eat with my tongue and never allow food to touch my lips. They showed me how to cook on three rocks and wash my clothes in the river. They taught me the birth chants, and I learned too soon, to recognize the death song. Suddenly, one morning there were no young girls in the village. They returned 13 weeks later, changed. Our ritual of sisterhood was no more. They no longer had the sparkle of wonderment in their eyes; they weren’t carefree young girls any longer. They didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I could not understand. I know now they had been circumcised.”

Opening Jan. 9, the exhibit is free and open to the public through Feb. 22. Gallery hours in the Sauder Visual Arts Center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

A reception for the artist will be held from 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Musasama will also speak during Bluffton University’s Forum at 11 a.m. on Feb. 5 in Yoder Recital Hall. The award-winning ceramics artist is an associate adjunct professor in studio art at Hunter College in New York City.