United States Center for Disease Control’s curatorial consultant, Dr. Kali Ahset Amen, has described Liberian artwork on display at the National Museum of Liberia highlighting the trauma of the Ebola epidemic as “very unique – one that gives the world the true visual picture of the epidemic.”
Produced by group of 11 young Liberian artists, the paintings depict the plethora of scenes from the Ebola crisis in Liberia. The works first went on exhibit on May 14, 2015.
“A museum is the keeper of records. History has been made here and this record needs to be kept,” Dr. Amen said. “I saw the trauma in the paintings and other creative art performances, and it shows the individual trauma [the Liberian] people have had to go through.”
Dr. Amen also noted that the Ebola disease brought individual and collective trauma; and that people the other side of the ocean only felt the pain in an abstract way.
She added: “But this visual performance and paintings give the mind the clear picture of the trauma Liberians actually went through.”
Dr. Amen pointed out that art is “the mirror of a people as it shows us the ugliness of each other, to make a political statement and to be true to each other. It is through the means of art that history can better be preserved. And it speaks to the soul, as well as providing prophetic vision of the future through imagination.
“I came to review these artworks on display and see for myself the performance from the various artistic groups on how upsetting the Ebola crisis was. Next year CDC will be having its exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia, and selections will be made for few artworks and artists from various unions to be part of that exhibition,” she told the gathering of artists at the museum. “
“We want to tell a story of the Liberian people on Ebola through art to the outside world at this exhibition. We know the arts are underfunded here; art is also underfunded in the United States, but we will do our best to support your work.”
In remarks, the Assistants Minister for Culture at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Louise McMillian said it through art unity and education begin.
Min. McMillian said in 2014, we have Ebola and many of our family members passed on but you artists put your creative minds together in helping to raise awareness for Ebola until it was defeated.
“For this, the government of Liberian will always remain grateful to you people for the services render to the county. It ready help and here we are today to benefit from that sacrifice,” Min. McMillian applaud the artists.
The Culture Minister noted that by March of next year, Liberian artwork and artistic people will be on the international scene again, “but if it was not for Daily Observer Arts section (LIB Life) that usually carry story on every program we had, CDC could not have sent representative here.
“It was through their story’s they wrote on us want we have the exhibition at the museum that landed at CDC headquarter that got them interested in the painting and ask that they come verify so that we can be part of the process,” Min. McMillian said of Daily Observer newspaper.