This article originally appeared in the Naperville Trib-Local
By Ted Slowik
Photographer Art Sussman captures the heart of his travels in the exhibit “Looking for West Africa” March 9 through April 29 at North Central College.
The exhibit is free and open to the public in the College’s Schoenherr Gallery at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. An artist reception will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 11. Guests can meet Sussman, and complimentary refreshments will be served.
In his position as vice president and secretary of the MacArthur Foundation from 2001 to 2010, Sussman directed the organization’s arts and culture grant making.
He became fascinated by the culture and people of Nigeria during his visits to the African nation as part of his work with MacArthur, and he photographed regions of the country along the way. After leaving the organization, Sussman made a promise to himself to return to Nigeria to teach.
In the winter of 2010, he fulfilled that promise and took up residence at the University of Ibadan—Nigeria’s first university—as visiting professor in the School of Law. Sussman taught comparative law, advised students, mentored faculty and gave lectures about American higher education. For this service he was anointed a Chief of Ado-Ekiti: “A son of the soil.”
During this stay in Nigeria, he took very few photographs in hopes of being a participant instead of an observer. Once he completed his teaching, however, he traveled to Senegal, Mali and Ghana, where many of his photos were taken before returning home. His photographs of faces, buildings, objects and landscapes encapsulate the soul of West Africa.
Currently, Sussman serves on boards of several nonprofit organizations, including Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, Albany Park Theater Project, Chicago Dramatists and the Illinois Humanities Council.
This exhibit is sponsored by Bulley & Andrews, LLC. For gallery hours or to learn more about the exhibit, contact Nickole C. Lanham, North Central’s gallery director, at 630-637-5375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art, art history and art education are among more than 55 undergraduate majors offered at North Central College.
USG Corporation and Navistar, Inc. are underwriting sponsors of North Central College’s 2011-2012 Sesquicentennial Fine & Performing Arts Season. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. This exhibit is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. North Central offers a variety of venues accommodating a rich range of local and world-class events, performances and space needs for the public. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit http://northcentralcollege.edu/show or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).