KIA Welcomes George N'Namdi for Black History Month on February 12

Posted: February 6, 2015
Source: Katie Houston
Job Title: Marketing & PR Coordinator
Phone: (269) 585-9297

George N'Namdi

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) will host George N'Namdi, founder and president of Detroit's N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, for a presentation Thursday, February 12 at 6:30 pm. The lecture is one of four programs during February in honor of Black History Month.

An art dealer and educator, N'Namdi will speak on Community and Collecting: The History of the N'Namdi Collection. The N'Namdi Collection is one of the most extensive collections of African American art in the U.S., spanning more than a century of art in a spectrum of genres with a special strength in contemporary abstract painting.

The N'Namdi Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of master artists, nurturing local artists, and promoting community engagement in the arts. The center offers juried shows, lectures, art invitationals, family events, and an artist in residence program.

"We are delighted to host Dr. N'Namdi for his personal story of collecting African American art over the decades, and how he uses his nonprofit as a venue to nurture art and artists, and create community," says KIA Executive Director Belinda Tate.

Born in 1946 to a postal worker and a beauty shop owner, George N'Namdi graduated from Columbus East High School and The Ohio State University before obtaining two master's degrees and a PhD (in psychology) from the University of Michigan. It was during his time in Ann Arbor that he and his wife changed their surname to N'Namdi, which means "father's name lives on" in the Ibo language of Eastern Nigeria.

In the mid-1970s, he served as a therapist at Milan Federal Prison and taught courses at the University of Michigan. In 1978, he and his wife, Carmen, founded the Nataki Talibah School House in Detroit, an independent grade school named for their late daughter that consistently outperforms local and state schools while teaching transcendental meditation and emphasizing the arts. N'Namdi began collecting art in 1968, opened his first gallery in 1981, and has run galleries in Chicago, Miami, and New York.

The talk is included with $5 museum admission (free for KIA members, youth under 13, and active military).

Other Black History Month events at the KIA include film screenings of Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace (Tuesday, February 10, noon and Thursday, February 26, 6:30 pm) and a gallery talk by docent Harvey Myers on Jacob Lawrence (Thursday, February 19, 6:30 pm).