After four years in the making, the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African and African American Art opened its doors late last month in the heart of Harvard Square. Designed by world-renowned Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye, Harvard’s John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture, the gallery sits behind a remarkable façade of vertical wooden planks, inspired by the forests of Ghana, in a repurposed commercial space tucked behind Peet’s Coffee. An extension of Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African-American Research, the Cooper Gallery is the first Harvard gallery dedicated entirely to African and African American art. The inaugural exhibition, Luminós/C/ity. Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection, is co-curated by Adjaye and Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, founder and curator of Seattle’s M.I.A. Gallery, and features the work of 21 artists from across the globe selected from the extensive Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art, some of which have never been publicly seen. Be on the lookout for artist talks, lectures, and workshops as this new space unfolds and be sure to catch this ground-breaking show before it comes down on January 8, 2015!

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