Out of Africa

The big art talk in the Valley these days is about an iconic American presence, Norman Rockwell. But you can also find explorations of the African world with two shows on the gallery scene this week.

A show of works by artist William Kentridge, "Ubu Tells the Truth and Other Stories," opens Saturday, January 27, at the ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center, and continues through Sunday, May 20. Kentridge, a native of South Africa, creates art that focuses on the lives of white South Africans in a post-apartheid world.

The title piece is an animated film in which Kentridge bounces themes from Alfred Jarry's classic early absurdist play Ubu Roi off of South African imagery and context. The Johannesburg native employs charcoal figures, which he animates by repeatedly erasing and reworking single drawings -- the idea is to create a metaphor for the jerky and mercurial nature of human memory.

Admission to this exhibit is free; for details go to or call 480-965-2787.

Meanwhile, out in Chandler, there's more art on an African theme: "Eritrea, An Artist's Journey," a show of paintings by Betty La Duke, explores the tiny country on the Red Sea north of Ethiopia that was occupied by Italy in the late 19th century. It then became a province of Ethiopia in 1952, but from the early '60s was engaged in an ongoing war, which ended in 1993 with a referendum declaring the minuscule country's independence.

The exhibit, which focuses on the familial aspects of Eritrean culture, continues through Saturday, March 3, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free. For details call 480-917-6859.

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M.V. Moorhead
Contact: M.V. Moorhead