“If the Atlantic Ocean were to dry up, a trail of bones would lead from the shores of Africa to the Americas.” This quote from Dr. Barbara J. Molette is one of the inspirations for a new installation at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum on St. Mary Street.

Ancestral Memories: The Work of Imna Arroyo is a traveling exhibition running from now until July 9. Its aim is to educate about the millions of Africans who were kidnapped and died on the voyage from their homeland to the Americas. Imna Arroyo is a professor of art at Eastern Connecticut State University. She says in her artist statement, “My work focuses on issues of identity. Which is nurtured by personal and collective references to my ancestral culture. Working in various mediums such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, and mixed media installations gives voice to multiple layers of my identity.  This binds me to my Neolithic past, as well as my Indigenous and African Caribbean heritage.”

Part of the installation is a 6-minute film called Trail of Bones which is an overview of the African slave trade. It also features terra cotta figures, acrylics and woodcuts using Adinkra symbolism from South Central Ghana.

The museum hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m to noon and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Sundays and Mondays. It is free with a University of Louisiana ID; otherwise $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for kids under 18 and free if the child is under 5.

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