Gallery review

galleryreview creates a very unique view of African History
and the people
of Africa.

TERA Gallery is a private collection of fine art that creates a very unique view of African History and the people of Africa. Its many symbolic figures and tribal creations prove it to be an arsenal of the most uplifting masterpieces known to sight. This collection is a symbol of what hard work can produce, and encompasses the magnificent dedication and effort of the African people.

Located in Washington, DC, the nation?s capital, the TERA Gallery is owned by my uncle, Mr. Thomas L. Atkins, Jr. The gallery makes available to the public its holdings and library through exhibits, a resident scholars program, and long-term loans throughout the world. The Gallery is a collection of fine art and rare artifacts from around the world that dates from antiquity (500 B.C) to the present. The focus of the gallery is African art, and the gallery?s slogan is ?Altering the Way You View the World of Art.?

Mr. Atkins feels that African art must not be compared to European art; rather it must be viewed within a broader art context. In order to understand the Gallery, Mr. Atkins feels that one must realize that ?the problem is not the application of ?art? to the African context, but rather a misunderstanding of what ?art? really is.?

TERA Gallery is an illustrious art collection of masks, terracotta and wood figures, textiles, currency, beadwork, metalwork, including iron objects and bronzes, and ceremonial and utilitarian artifacts. When I walked into the Gallery, the masks caught my eye more than any of the other objects, and I had to study each piece immediately. Each mask evoked an emotional response from me because they are so deliberate and aggressive. The materials and the textures in the sculptures gave me feelings of strength and power. Each piece of art symbolized the greatness of the maker and the purpose for which it was used.


My visit to the TERA Gallery differs from my visit to other art galleries because I was able to have a more physical interaction and response to each part of the collection. It was a very powerful experience. By touching and feeling the uniqueness of each piece, I was able to connect with the life and traditions of African people. The strength I felt when holding some of the pieces made me feel as if I were a part of the African society that created it and that I was experiencing what may have been going on at the time it was being used. Each piece in the collection can be defined as a masterpiece of marvelous craftsmanship. I consider them to be great works of art. I view the gallery as a very creative way of showing the greatness of Africa and the African people.

A visit to the TERA Gallery provided me an opportunity to broaden my understanding and appreciation of Africa?s history, and the cultural diversity that exits even until today on the continent. Before there was written language, early African societies communicated their beliefs and ideas in many ways. African art is utilitarian and mirrored the day-to-day life of the people. Each object that was created had a significant meaning in the society that created it. Artworks embodied shared beliefs, customs, and traditions linking a community?s past to its future. When studied, the textures, markings, colors, structures, and the materials used in producing the art pieces in the collection give me a sense of being among these African societies and make me want to learn more about them. Being with some of the pieces, I could feel the presence of the spirit within them to help me to understand the life of the people.

I was amazed throughout my visit to the gallery. The collection made me want to set for myself, by studying, the task of creating similar figures, and I left full of suspense and curiosity about my next experience there. The beauty, power, art, and history I experienced through this collection inspired me.

Please visit to find out more about the world, art, and the great people of Africa. My brother, Jason Patterson and myself in 1995 created the watermark map of Africa in the web presentation.

The TERA Gallery Library has over 100 books that can be used for research.

I conclude by saying that TERA Gallery has been a great part of my life and family history for many years. My uncle inspires me with everything he does. I am very blessed and happy to have him in my life and as a role model. His hard work at TERA Gallery will never be forgotten. I value the meaning of the Gallery, and one day TERA Gallery will be mine, and my uncle?s legacy will continue. ART is my passion.

This article is reprinted here by permission of the author.

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