In 2021, The Chrysler Museum of Art, in partnership with the Hampton University Museum, was awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which aims to Diversify the Field of Curation and Conservation [] by conducting a three-year pilot fellowship program for two museum professionals. Tashae Smith, curatorial fellow and Angie Lopez, conservation fellow worked under the mentorship of both institutions to curate and conserve artworks for two public exhibitions, I Am Copying Nobody: The Art and Political Cartoons of Akinola Lasekan and Sankofa: Constructing Modern African Art.
Akinola Lasekan, Abike, ca. 1940s. Pastel on paper, Hampton University Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 67.470. Photo: Alexander’s Photography
I Am Copying Nobody: The Art and Political Cartoons of Akinola LasekanOn view Spring – Summer, 2024Frank Photography Gallery, Chrysler Museum of ArtI Am Copying Nobody: The Art and Political Cartoons of Akinola Lasekan features more than 50 drawings, paintings, and political cartoons created by Akinola Lasekan, a pioneer of modern art and political cartoons in Nigeria. Lasekan’s artworks capture Nigeria’s landscape, people, culture, and political climate in the 1940s and 50s. Lasekan’s 38-year art career brimmed with beauty, innovation, and advocacy. He utilized easel painting to express the beauty and humanity of Nigeria and its people while simultaneously attacking the British colonial system with nationalistic political cartoons. His mastery and use of these Western art forms contradicted the narrative of European superiority and African inferiority.
The Chrysler Museum of Art is located at One Memorial Place, Norfolk, Virginia, and is open Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday noon–5 p.m. Learn more [].
Ben Enwonwu, Fulani Girl of Rupp, 1949. Oil on canvas, Hampton University Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 67.328. Photo: Alexander’s Photography


Sankofa: Constructing Modern African ArtOn view Spring-Summer 2024New Wing, Hampton University Museum


Sankofa: Constructing Modern African Art features more than 40 artworks by 30 artists from 11 countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the United States. This exhibition captures how Modern African artists utilized the past (traditional values and cultural heritage of the pre-colonial era) to construct their versions of Modern African art. Although there were numerous beliefs on what a new African art aesthetic should do, see, and feel like, a common thread was a return to the sources, which was the act of reclaiming and rehabilitating African cultures desecrated by colonization. Artists reclaimed the past for the future of African art by utilizing Indigenous art forms to construct art for the age of African independence and globalization. They also presented the unique beauty of the African landscape and its numerous ethnic cultures, birthing new artistic identities formed by deeper connections to their own or foreign cultural heritage.


The Hampton University Museum is located in the Huntington Building on the Hampton University campus and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Learn more.

These exhibitions are co-organized by the Hampton University Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art with support provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.