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January 22, 2009

Harn Museum of Art goes beyond the beads with lecture and live demonstration

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Harn Museum of Art is providing art enthusiasts with two opportunities to explore the intricate art of African beadwork on Feb. 1.

Victoria Rovine, assistant professor of art history at the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History and the Center for African Studies, will present “Beads and Beyond: Fashion and History in South Africa,” on Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. This lecture offers an in-depth look into the wondrous world of South African fashion through a discussion of past and present trends.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to observe a beadworking demonstration by local artist Holly Merton. Merton will demonstrate various beading techniques and answer questions about her creative process from 1 to 4 p.m. Merton’s artwork is available for purchase in the Harn Museum Store.

Both events are related to Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork, which will be on display at the museum through summer 2009. The exhibition focuses on the many ways that African beadwork “speaks” in a visually-coded language to convey thoughts about personal relationships, family ties, wealth, religious beliefs, and social and political standing. Between the Beads illuminates the historical and cultural contexts of bead use, meaning and production and shows how beads of many materials, colors, sizes and shapes have embellished the human body and have been used in sculptural displays. The 100 pieces on display include personal adornment, masks and sculpture from the museum’s collection and private collections.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between Rovine and Curator of African Art Susan Cooksey. Between the Beads is made possible by a gift from a generous donor with additional support from the Dr. Madelyn M. Lockhart Endowment for Focus Exhibitions. Additional information about the exhibition can be found by visiting

Admission to the Harn Museum of Art is free. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit


Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
The Harn Museum of Art at SW 34th St. and Hull Rd. is one of the largest university art museums in the country with nearly 7,000 works in its collection focusing on African, Asian, modern and contemporary art and photography. The museum enhances the activities of the University of Florida and serves a culturally diverse audience through educational programming. Admission is free. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Parking is free on weekends. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

Media contacts:
Tami Wroath, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
352.392.9826 x116

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