African Art & Origins: The Creative and Spiritual World of George Nelson Preston

An African Art & Origins exhibit is open until May 15, 2019 for all to view

Campus Life > African Art & Origins: The Creative and Spiritual World of George Nelson Preston
African Art & Origins: The Creative and Spiritual World of George Nelson Preston

George Nelson Preston greets a colleague at his "African Art & Origins: The Creative and Spiritual World of George Nelson Preston" exhibition in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.

Kieffer Braisted, Staff Writer

Kean University is proud to present "The Creative and Spiritual World of George Preston", African Art & Origins exhibit from now until May 15.

The exhibition is on display in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery, located on the first floor of the Center for Academic Success (CAS) on Main Campus.

Featuring only three select exhibitions a year, the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery is both the largest and most prestigious of the galleries featured at Kean University.

The gallery focuses on providing opportunities for students, faculty and the public alike to better understand the diversity of society through art and their multicultural initiative. 

Fostering the aforementioned values through a celebration of his life and many accomplishments, George Nelson Preston features pieces that represent all aspects of his well-traveled and diverse career.

Preston's career is nothing short of both fascinating and extremely varied, having contributed to several areas of society during his travels.

Preston is an "artist, scholar, writer, critic, collector, professor, world-traveler, baseball enthusiast, inventor, poet of the Beat Generation and an honored Akan chief in Ghana," according to the Burger Gallery's exhibition description. "George Nelson Preston is a renaissance man, a cultural visionary with a unique outlook on the world as he has lived it."

Fostering the aforementioned values through a celebration of his life and many accomplishments, George Nelson Preston features pieces that represent all aspects of his well-traveled and diverse career. 

Born in New York City in 1938, Preston grew up in a family heavily involved in the art and music movement in Harlem at the time.

After attending the High School of Music and Art and then City College of New York, Preston graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Directly after college, he began writing political stories in Cuba, which began his seemingly endless travels throughout his illustrious journey.

Preston has traveled to Asia, Europe, South America and Africa on multiple occasions. In 1966, he entered himself into the Program in Primitive and Pre-Colombian Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Colombia University, where he later garnered both a master's and doctorate in the subject.

In his time, Preston has advocated heavily for the recognition of the fusion of cultures and the overall impact Africa has on modern society. His focus remains to explain the birth of modern cultures and their struggle for identity after centuries of European oppression.

Continuing his dedication to his ancestors and passion, Preston founded the Museum of Art & Origins, located on 162nd Street in New York City. This museum houses hundreds of African artworks and pieces, antique photographs and even some of Preston's personal collection.

 Preston's pieces demand one to explore and expand the depths of their mind and imagination. 

Taking all of this into account, Preston aims to display a little bit of everything in his showing at Kean University. 

Additionally, Preston's pieces urge one to explore and expand the depths of their mind and imagination.

"What if I could give you visual cues to the experience of the painting as layers of consciousness beyond the image and between the consciousness of the viewer and the consciousness of the painting?" Preston asks of his viewers.

Using the installation as a capsule of all the unique elements and philosophy of his life, Preston interconnects each piece within the gallery and in turn relates it to the past, present and future.

Attendance is free of charge, but hours vary. 

Those interested in obtaining more information about the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery, visit Kean's official site.

Free educational group tours lead by trained docents are also available upon request. For more information, contact galleries@kean.edu or call (908) 737-0392.


about the author

Kieffer Braisted, Staff Writer
braistki@kean.edu 

Kieffer Braisted is a Staff Writer for The Cougar’s Byte. He joined the staff in March 2018.