University alumnus showcases work at Uumbaji Art Gallery


Photographer and Kent State alumnus Vince Robinson presents his gallery opening, “The Real Africa: Images from Ghana,” in Oscar Ritchie Hall Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. Robinson introduced the stories behind his photography and even recited poetry for the crowd.

Olivia Williams

The Uumbaji Art Gallery, located in Kent State’s Oscar Ritchie Hall, showcased Kent State alumnus Vince Robinson’s work entitled “The Real Africa: Images from Ghana.”

Exhibited in the art gallery were photos shot by Robinson from when he visited Ghana with the university.

“I am a communicator, and I understand that is my purpose in life,” Robinson said as he gave praise and glory to his ancestors for making it possible for him to do his work.

Robinson was introduced by Mwatabu Okantah, associate professor and director of the Center of Pan-African Culture. Robinson, once a student of Okantah’s, was invited to Ghana to document the trip. Robinson said the amount of pictures displayed in the exhibit were only a small part of roughly 1,500 photos he took while visiting the country.

Robinson said that Thursday’s event was the best day of his life as a photographer. He said having his work displayed in Oscar Ritchie Hall was like everything coming full circle; when he was a student at Kent State, he discovered himself in Oscar Ritchie Hall. The Department of Pan-African Studies gave him a sense of sanity.

“I was born a photographer here, and this really is a culmination of life’s work,” Robinson said.

Sophomore visual communication design major Darius Williams was among the many who came out to view Robinson’s work. He said what drew him to the event was that he was going to Ghana in May to study abroad. Williams talked about the significance that these types of events have on campus and that it is important to support and recognize the work of black Kent State alumni.

“This whole exhibit is like a story board. As a VCD major, I can realize and appreciate that,” Williams said.

In the crowd were staff from different departments across Kent State’s campus. Education abroad adviser Rachael Mundie attended the art gallery exhibit to view Robinson’s work.

Coming from an art history background, she said that the gallery was the type of event she would usually attend.

“Events like this are essential because they expose students to different cultures,” Mundie said.

Olivia Williams is the African-American student life reporter, contact her at [email protected]