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Carole Mikita Reporting A California man has made a huge donation of African art to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. He's a world traveler who says he is fascinated by other cultures.
A wood carving called The Primordial Couple from southern Mali in Africa. Before retiring, David Mort worked as an engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He lived there for nearly nine years, fell in love with the various cultures, and began collecting art. This new exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts includes just some of the 3,000 pieces he has donated to Utahns.
Owen David Mort, Jr., Donor 'Africa: Arts of a Continent': "It was just a great opportunity to give them a chance to see how these other people lived and what their cultures are like. So,to me it was it was just a great opportunity to give to a community."
Generous donations from a number of collectors gave birth to this exhibit. The pieces represent four distinct regions of Africa. All of the artworks are shown at eye level for children to soak in the experience.
Bernadette Brown, Curator, Utah Museum of Fine Arts: "When they leave, hopefully they'll take something with them, bit of information, understanding about another culture, another people."
David Mort: "It's an outstanding showing of some of the finest African material, that I know of anywhere."
David Mort grew up in a small town in California never dreaming African art would change his life. Now his unique collection is here for generations to enjoy.
The museum will hold a free public celebration in honor of the exhibit tomorrow June 18th from noon to 4:00 p.m.