Otterbein University’s African Arts

Staff Report

Otterbein’s Opening Doors To The World Program Looks at Africa and the African Diaspora

Westerville—Otterbein and the Arts: Opening Doors to the World, a multi-year international arts initiative, invites the community to campus to the explore South Africa and the African Diaspora through the arts this fall.

Opening Doors to the World has looked at Latin America (2015-16) and Asia (2016-17) with thought-provoking and engaging visual and performance arts and events. This year, the focus turns to Africa. South Africa, Sudan, and “Another Place,” addressing immigration and the refugee crisis, are primary gateway countries and topics that will be explored in programs this year. You can view the full schedule of events at

All events in the series are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. The fall calendar is as follows:


South Africa at Liberty: Photographs and Films by Yasser Booley

Now-Dec. 2

Joan Legalamitlwa, Curator

Frank Museum of Art, 39 S. Vine St.

This exhibition is a celebration, an indulgent vision of photographer Yasser Booley’s South Africa. Taken from an extensive body of work that begins on the eve of the abolition of apartheid, the photographs span two decades and show ordinary people in the eclectic “rainbow nation” caught at the crossroads, entangled in a disheveled unity. Booley brings to light the beauty of humanity through religious and cultural differences, through class and gender diversity, revealing his unbridled optimism, often sprinkled with an accidental irony. The show coincides with the book Yasser Booley: South Africa at Liberty, Collection Africalia Editions series published by Africalia Editions & Stichting Kunstboek, 2016. Yasser Booley will be an artist-in-residence in Fall 2017.

Extra Ordinary Lives: Portraits from a Divided Land

Now-Dec. 3

Fisher Gallery, Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St.

Sophia Klaase, Photographer

Siona O’Connell and Rick Rohde, Curators

In 1999, just five years after the first free elections were held in post-apartheid South Africa, 14-year-old Sophia Klaase (1985-2017) began taking photographs when Social Anthropologist Rick Rohde provided members of her community with cameras. Part of a long-term study of her remote village, Paulshoek, in the country’s sparsely populated Northern Cape, Klaase emerged as a rare talent. She eventually amassed a collection of over 1,500 images that record village life and the passage of time from the perspective of a young woman growing up in the ‘new’ South Africa. Klaase photographed family, friends, village events, daily chores, and self-portraits, overturning the Colonial trope of documenting indigenous people as anthropological specimens.

HOME: Contemporary African Artists Consider Place & Identity in Our Connected World

Now-Dec. 1

Carol Boram-Hays, Guest Curator

African artists Osi Audu, Olu Amoda, Ifeoma Anyaeji, Maurice Pefura, and E. Okechukwu Odita explore the complex concept of home in our global world. While acknowledging that we all are impacted deeply by the places and cultures into which we are born, these artists reveal how the notion of home can be fluid, virtual, fragmented, hybrid, or even contested.

Otterbein University is a private university nationally recognized for its intentional blending of liberal arts and professional studies through its renowned Integrative Studies curriculum and its commitments to experiential learning and community engagement. Otterbein recently launched Kindness Matters, an initiative in partnership with Kind Columbus at The Columbus Foundation, in its effort to cultivate and inspire kindness throughout the greater Columbus region. Otterbein is a recipient of the 2015 Carnegie Community Service Classification; a finalist for the 2014 President’s Award for Economic Opportunity Community Service; and has been honored With Distinction by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since the list’s inception in 2006. It stands in its category’s top 15 percent in U.S. News & World Report’s guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” Otterbein offers more than 70 undergraduate majors; seven master’s programs; and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). Its picturesque campus is perfectly situated in Westerville, Ohio, America’s fifth friendliest town (Forbes), just minutes from Columbus, the 14th largest city in the country. Otterbein’s commitment to opportunity started with its founding in 1847 as one of the nation’s first universities to welcome women and persons of color to its community of teachers and learners, which now numbers 2,400 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Otterbein remains committed to its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its spirit of inclusion, and welcomes people of all backgrounds to Otterbein’s Model Community. To learn more about Otterbein, visit

Staff Report