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Houston Matters

Art Exhibit At Texas Southern Celebrates Family Through African Traditions

Houston Matters visits the Rites of Passage exhibit at Texas Southern University.

A painting called The Web of Life by John T. Biggers on display at Texas Southern University, whose art department Biggers founded.

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A massive painting full of earth-related and nature-themed imagery covers back wall at the University Museum at Texas Southern University. It’s called The Web of Life by John T. Biggers, founder of the art department at the school. The work is the centerpiece of a new exhibition featuring works by African-American artists — as well as traditional pieces, such as masks and drums from African tribes.

The exhibit is called Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture. Many of the works represent the interactions between humans and the environment seen through the lens of both contemporary art and traditional indigenous pieces.

Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn visited the exhibition and spoke with curator Bonita Cutliff about the significance of the displays and what she hopes visitors will get from the experience.

  • The entrance to the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    The entrance to the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • A sketch of a mural called The Contribution of the Negro-Woman on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    A sketch of a mural called The Contribution of the Negro-Woman on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • Tribal masks on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    Tribal masks on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • Sculptures on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    Sculptures on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • A painting called The Web of Life by John Biggers on display at Texas Southern University, whose art department Biggers founded. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    A painting called The Web of Life by John Biggers on display at Texas Southern University, whose art department Biggers founded. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • A painting called The Web of Life by John T. Biggers on display at Texas Southern University, whose art department Biggers founded. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    A painting called The Web of Life by John T. Biggers on display at Texas Southern University, whose art department Biggers founded. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
  • Paintings on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)
    Paintings on display as part of the exhibit Rites of Passage: An Ode to Humanity & Culture at Texas Southern University. (Photo Credit: Joshua Zinn)