Boro Prez opens week-long ‘Brooklyn is Africa’ public art exhibit

Eric Edwards, founder and executive director of the Cultural Museum of African Art, left, shows BP Antonio Reynoso around the exhibition.
Eric Edwards, founder and executive director of the Cultural Museum of African Art, left, shows BP Antonio Reynoso around the exhibition.
Courtesy Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

Brooklyn Borough President, Antonio Reynoso recently celebrated Black History Month with an opening night reception for the “Brooklyn is Africa” art exhibit’s return to Borough Hall. In partnership with Eric Edwards and the Cultural Museum of African Art (CMAA).

The exhibit is being held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St. According to the BP’s office, photography is not allowed in the exhibition unless pre-approved. Press may reach out to [email protected] to request approval and schedule a media visit to the exhibit.

The “Brooklyn is Africa: Survival + Persistence = Resistance” art exhibit opened on Feb. 24, and will end on Friday, March 3. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day, including Saturday and Sunday. On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, “Brooklyn is Africa” is open for extended hours from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

This year’s week-long exhibit tells the story of “Survival + Persistence = Resistance” through a selection of 35 rare and historical African art pieces and artifacts representing the diaspora of the borough. Visitors will have the opportunity to view art dating as far back as 16-17th century Chad, and rare pieces such as a 19th century Yoruba palace door from Nigeria carved by the renowned Olowe of Ise (ca. 1873 – 1938), who is one of the most celebrated Yoruba sculptors of the past century.

“Art is storytelling. Art is beauty, courage, and love. But more than anything, art is resistance and perseverance,” said Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso. “Last night’s celebration and our ‘Brooklyn is Africa’ exhibit are about honoring the many people and cultures of the African diaspora that have made their home here in Brooklyn, whether generations ago or just this year.”

attended the BHM exhibition at Brooklyn Borough Hall that will run until March 3
Brooklynites attended the BHM exhibition at Brooklyn Borough Hall that will run until March 3.
Office of the Brooklyn Borough President 

For thousands of years, the stories of our African ancestors have survived erasure and persecution through art and artifacts — and Eric Edwards’ collection of pieces help us celebrate the mark all of Africa has made on the world of today. I’m so grateful to the Cultural Museum of African Art and the many partners who made this celebration possible, and I can’t wait to share in the joy of art and memory with this entire borough.”

According to the release, over 250 people attended the exhibit’s opening night reception, which featured performances by the Patsy Grant and Friends jazz trio and the Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, which performed a dance titled, “Thank You.”

Thank you commemorated the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and recognizes the 60th anniversary of the Birmingham Church bombing. LaRay Brown, CEO of One Brooklyn Health System, was also honored at the event when Borough President Reynoso presented her with a citation for her contributions to excellence and healthcare in our communities.

Brownsville Culinary Center, Red Hook Winery, and Brooklyn Brewery Food provided light refreshments. The evening celebration was made possible through the support of Brooklyn for All, Inc., Citizens, Macy’s, National Grid, and Emblem Health.

“We are very thankful for the support of the Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, and the opportunity to serve the people of New York City, and in particular Brooklyn,” said Eric Edwards, founder and executive director of the Cultural Museum of African Art. “We appreciate the opportunity for allowing us to provide a deep insight, through CMAA’s artifacts collection, of the contributions of Africa, and the diaspora, to man and womankind.”

CMAA is the creation of African artifacts collector Eric Edwards, who has amassed the most significant and important African artifacts collection in the world. Edwards’ journey spans more than 50 years, in which he has carefully selected these unique pieces, which include all 54 countries on the African continent, and date back more than 4,000 years of human history.

“The intention of our partnership with the Cultural Museum of African Art is to celebrate culture and storytelling, as part of our ongoing pledge to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and world,” said Nuno Dos Santos, SVP, retail director, Citizens. “We continue to be committed to investing into the New York metro area by supporting unique platforms that encourage innovation, learning and shared understanding.”

“National Grid joins with Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso and the local community to celebrate Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans,” said Renee McClure, director, Community & Customer Engagement, National Grid New York. “This event helps build relationships by connecting people through cultural teachings of black history and deepens the foundation of our community members to create a sense of pride in being a part of this beautiful borough.”

“I applaud Borough President Antonio Reynoso for bringing us together to celebrate and honor the culture and vitality of black history,” said Ann Marie Adamson-Serieux, AVP, Community and Corporate Engagement, EmblemHealth.”As we celebrate tonight, I am proud to represent EmblemHealth’s ongoing commitment to making our healthcare system more equitable and accessible to all New Yorkers.”