This article was originally published in the February 2018 Trenton Downtowner.
The Trenton City Museum in Cadwalader Park presents “Africa Now! Contemporary Art by African Women,” an exhibit of painting and sculpture by four African women: Ritah Nabuyungo and Lilane Nabulime from Uganda, Durhiwe Rushemeza from Rwanda, and Mercy Moyo from Zimbabwe.
The exhibition is on view from February 4 through 25, with an opening reception on Saturday, February 17, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
The artists, curator, and a guest speaker will join for a panel discussion on how women are shaping contemporary African art on Sunday, February 25, at 1 p.m. A reception follows.
While the artists use vibrant colors, traditional African motifs, abstractions, and collage, their work also reflects their experience living and working in countries affected by social and political conflicts.
Cincinnati-based Curator Kali McMillan — formerly of West Windsor — selected the works from the collection of Port Murray, New Jersey, resident Diana Tyson, a frequent visitor to Africa and a longtime collector of the work of the featured artists.
The Trenton City Museum will also present two “soulful” events for Presidents Day Weekend.
On Saturday, February 17, scholar and author Adrian E. Miller presents “A Taste of Trenton Soul” from 5 to 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 120 East State Street.
The talk and dinner explore the history of soul food and include food from several of Trenton’s highly regarded soul food restaurants.
Miller, the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches, is a self-proclaimed recovering lawyer and politico who writes on African heritage food (especially soul food), barbecue, the intersection of faith and food, and presidential foodways.
His “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time” examines the history of soul food and its relationship to the African American experience.
Trenton restaurants participating in the event include 1911 Smokehouse, Thomasina’s, Ila Mae’s, Studio B Bistro, and Health Is Wealth. BJ’s Sweets n Eats and Dijaeatyet? will provide desserts.
Tickets are $75 in advance and $90 at the door.
On Sunday, February 18, Miller will lead a “Soul of the President’s Kitchen” discussion, slide show, and book signing at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, 2 p.m.
Topics include the lives of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Complementing the talk is a museum display of Trenton-made presidential china.
General public tickets are $25. Advance tickets may be purchased online at ellarslie.org, at Molly’s the Shop at Ellarslie, or by credit card at 609-989-1191.