Welcome! As we inch closer to the June 20 opening of African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, Cosmos Diary will serve as a space to explore the meaning the cosmos holds for various cultures past and present, and to discover the rich astronomical knowledge found in artistic traditions across Africa.
Look for weekly posts highlighting current astronomy news and research coming out of Africa and showcasing select artworks to be featured in the exhibition. In addition, we’ll feature regular guest posts from artists to astronomers discussing the subject of cultural astronomy and the various ways in which African science, art, and cultural expression intersect.
Take a moment to observe the main image of this blog- an untitled work from a series titled “Zulu” by contemporary South African artist Gavin Jantjes. This painting of the “Zulu” series–“zulu” meaning sky or heavens– refers to the Khoi San peoples’ myth that recounts how a girl dancing around an evening fire threw glowing embers into the night sky, where they remained as a wide, shimmering pathway illuminating the celestial firmament – the Milky Way.
What do you find yourself imagining as you look toward the sky?
There’s such a freedom, and a sense of wonder, inspired by looking at the stars. The work from “Zulu” and the story behind it are just so perfect, in situating humankind among the broader galaxy, universe—really, all of existence. There’s not a feeling of smallness, but a feeling of belonging, to a space beyond the everyday.
as fate would have it, a poem of mine about stargazing in Moletjie, South Africa, was just published today, March 22nd, on the blog of the Poydras Review. Check it out: it’s called “Snow Globe Explosions.” http://www.poydrasreview.com/Poetry/Blog.html
Thanks, Spree- we’ll check it out!