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    Talk: Sculptor Al Lavergne and The Gift

    Presented by at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

    July 16, 2015

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    Talk: Sculptor Al Lavergne and The Gift

    Join sculptor Al Lavergne to learn more about one of his most challenging and interesting projects.

    In the summer of 2009 the late, great Yoruba wood carver, Lamidi Fakeye invited Al Lavergne to travel to Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria and build a steel sculpture. He applied for and received a year-long Fulbright Grant. Lavergne arrived in Nigeria on January 1, 2012 with only a suitcase and a dream to fulfill a vision. The experience resulted in a rich dialog which deepened his appreciation of the culture and its' people and provided inspiration for his sculpture project.

    Nigerians love for their family is passionate and Lavergne decided an image of a mother and child seemed an appropriate subject matter. Each day presented new challenges but Lavernge succeeded in creating The Gift, a monumental 14' tall steel fabricated sculpture. The sculpture commemorates parenting on a universal scale.

    Of his Nigerian experience, Lavergne says, "On a personal level, it is a fact that most African Slave to were brought to North America came from Nigeria. I see myself as a descendant of that cargo who has returned home to bring a gift back to Mother Nigeria."

    Lavergne, recently retired after 23 years at WMU's Frostic School of Art, continues to create sculpture in his southwest Michigan studio. His work is included in the Kalamazoo Institute of Art's 2015 West Michigan Area Show, the KIA's permanent collection and in museum collections across the county.

    Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

    314 S. Park Street
    Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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    Phone: (269) 349-7775

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