CLINTON —Elias Sime, the artist currently featured at Hamilton College’s Wellin Museum of Art, received the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s 2019 African Art Award that recognizes “the best in contemporary African art” on Friday in Washington. The exhibition “Elias Sime: Tightrope” opened at the Wellin Museum in September, marking the artist’s first major museum survey. It is open and free to the public through Dec. 8.
The African Art Awards is the National Museum of African Art’s premier annual event designed to promote the museum’s mission. Ethiopian-born Sime, honored along with fellow artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby, was described by the museum as using “principles of connection to express critical viewpoints, further influencing the way the world experiences the dynamic and diverse arts of Africa.”
Gus Casley-Hayford, the director of the National Museum of African Art, said, “Both artists focus on the personal and societal impact of connection as they work with materials evocative of contemporary renewal, reuse and hybridity.”
The Wellin exhibition features more than 25 works of art of varying scales exploring Sime’s practice. In his work of the last decade, Sime, born in 1968 in Addis Ababa, brings together repurposed materials such as computer keyboards, motherboards, and electrical wires to create the complex, often colorful tableaus that make up the series “Tightrope.” The works comment on ecological sustainability, the resilience of nature, social responsibility, and the beauty of the utilitarian.
Through the title “Tightrope,” Sime recognizes the uneasy balance between the advances made possible by technology and the impact they have had on our humanity and environment, exploring how devices intended to connect us have mediated our interactions and lived experiences while creating massive amounts of e-waste.
Wellin Museum of Art hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is on College Hill Road at Griffin Road. Parking and admission are free of charge. For further information, contact the Wellin Museum of Art at 315-859-4396 or visit the website at www.hamilton.edu/wellin.