WORLD PREMIERE: The Netherlands–The Shonibare: The Journey
Commissioned by the North Carolina Museum of Art, “The Netherlands–The Shonibare: The Journey” is a musical interchange reflecting artworks by Ludolf Backhuysen and Yinka Shonibare. Composed by classical pianist Carolyn Colquitt, the piece imagines a conversation between two works in the Museum’s Interchanges: Cross-Collection Conversations, a series of installations featuring the NCMA collection in new forms.
Recognizing the often-strict borders between art historical genres and time periods, Interchanges breaks these boundaries, moving artworks around to challenge and interrupt preconceptions. Interchanges faces challenging histories head on, highlighting the global connections in art throughout time and celebrating the relevance of art to contemporary life.
One interchange pairs an early 18th-century Dutch seascape by Ludolf Backhuysen with a life-size mannequin sculpture by British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare made in 2005. This pairing, intended to be jarring, emphasizes the global trade networks build on and supported by European colonialism. Shonibare’s sculpture is dressed in Dutch wax cloth, made in the Netherlands but popular across Africa starting in the 19th century. Behind it, Backhuysen’s painting of warships expresses Dutch maritime power, success that was similarly founded on colonialism and slavery. Such paintings de-emphasize that Dutch ships carried hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans to the Americas. Rather than simply documenting, paintings often present only a selective view into the past.
The performance will feature:
• Carolyn Colquitt, composer and classical pianist
• Bonnie Thron, principal cellist of the North Carolina Symphony
• Natalie Bullock-Brown, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and vocalist
• Larry Wall, special effects technician
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in-person attendance to the performance is limited. The performance will be livestreamed from the Museum.