UMKC professor and climate scientist Jimmy Adegoke has always had an interest in the arts, and this academic year provides him a chance to display some of his own photography for the first time at the Miller-Nichols Learning Center.
“I was good enough at drawing that some of my teachers in elementary school encouraged me to pursue art,” said Adegoke. “The problem with that is there are no role models when I was growing up in Nigeria for successful careers in the arts.”
With the idea of being an artist dismissed early on in life, Adegoke discovered his photography skills as an adult. While taking trips to conduct research, he was given an opportunity to photograph people and landscapes of other countries.
“On this trip to Cuba, I was totally taken in. Cubans are expressionists. Most of Cuban culture, Latino culture, and Spanish culture are very expressionists culture. We are as well as Africans,” said Adegoke. “It was interesting to see that in Cuba. I just wanted to capture the faces of people and their expressions. When they’re happy you see it. When they’re singing, you can capture ‘it.’”
After Adegoke returned from his trip in 2009, he was encouraged by a mentor to do an exhibit but never found the time until this past year when he worked with one of his research students, Monica Miller.
“She graduated here as an undergrad two years ago so I brought her back to work with me. This past summer, when I was away in Africa, and when I indicated an interest [in having an exhibit], she just took to it. I gave her a disc of photos, and she did everything else to get it up and running.”
Adegoke and Miller’s exhibit, Capturado: The Faces of Cuba, can be seen on the ground floor of the Miller-Nichols Learning Center until Dec. 15th.
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September 1, 2017