2021 | 2022 Exhibitions Panel: Olawole Famule, Ryuta Nakajima, Juliane Shibata, Amy Varsek
Olawole Famule holds a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Art from the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. He has been a visual arts faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Superior since August 2006 and in that time, has actively continued to explore traditional African artistic practices, with specific focus on the Yoruba Egungun masking traditions, as well as their relationships to other non-western and western visual cultures. Prior to his current appointment at University of Wisconsin – Superior, Dr. Famule taught at Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester New York, Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, Tucson Arizona. Dr. Famule has published in many academic journals and has also contributed book chapters to many other publications. His book, The Ijumu-Yoruba Egungun Masquerades: Art and Spirituality in an African Culture, was published in 2009. Dr. Famule currently serves on the Duluth Art Institute Board of Directors.
Ryuta Nakajima is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Art and Design. With degrees from University of California, San Diego and Kyushu University, Nakajima merges biology and art, publishing scientific papers on cephalopods while highlighting art and design represented in this class of animals. Nakajima explores a variety of art forms including painting, sculpture and projection.
Juliane Shibata is a ceramic artist from Northfield, Minnesota. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University and has taught at Carleton and Hope colleges as well as The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Juliane’s work has been included in the 23rd Annual San Angelo National Ceramic Competition and 2019 “Blanc de Chine” International Ceramic Art Award exhibitions. She received first place in the 62nd Arrowhead Regional Biennial and was awarded Artist Initiative grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2014, 2018, and 2020. In 2016, she was a co-curator of Michi – Distinctive Paths, Shared Affinity: An Exhibition of Japanese American Ceramic Artists, which traveled across the U.S. Her work belongs to the permanent collection of Northern Arizona University’s Art Museum and the Brown-Forman Collection.
Exhibitions Director Amy Varsek joined the Duluth Art Institute in 2014, after nearly 10 years of experience installing artwork in small galleries. She aims to align each artists vision with the strengths and challenges in an exhibition space and looks for artists that evoke emotion through their work. As an artist, Varsek prefers drawing with a no.2 pencil and building sculptures with found objects. With a degree in biology, her work often represents the living world with a special interest in mammals and anatomy.
The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.