Art professor wins Graves Award in Humanities

Art Professor Andries Fourie has won a prestigious Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities, which encourages and rewards outstanding accomplishment in teaching the humanities and honors professors whose projects will enhance their classroom abilities.

Fourie, who is originally from South Africa and teaches sculpture at Willamette, plans to use his award to travel through Senegal and Mali this summer for a project entitled, "On the Threshold between Tradition and Innovation: Art and Identity in West Africa."

He will visit universities, museums, galleries, art centers, artist studios and villages to meet artists and traditional artisans while exploring the ways music, cuisine, storytelling, architecture and film inform the cultural life of Malians and Senegalese.

"I hope that my understanding of my own South African identity will be transformed and broadened by the experience of sharing ideas with West African artists who have spent the majority of their lives living in independent nations," Fourie says. "This has the potential to greatly affect the work and research that I do, as well as my teaching."

Fourie plans to use the information he collects to create a new body of sculptures on the topic of wider African identity, as well as enhance the presence of African studies at Willamette.

The Graves Award is given through a biennial competition administered by Pomona College, and only 41 colleges and universities in the western U.S. are eligible to nominate faculty for the award. This is the 12th award to go to a Willamette professor.

Learn more about Fourie and view samples of his work on the Department of Art and Art History website.