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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee will officially kick off its 2003 Africa Semester on Tuesday, Feb. 4, with a series of opening ceremony events and activities.

The ceremony will begin with a 5 p.m. parade at the University Center upper level plaza. The march will proceed to a formal ceremony in the UC Ballroom that will include a City of Knoxville proclamation, refreshments, a concert by Zim Ngqawana, UT Scholar in Residence, and members of the Jazz Group at the UT School of Music.

Other events include a performance by Vine Magnet Middle School’s “West African Drums and Dance Company” directed by Malaika Guthrie, and traditional African dances by members of the UT African Student Association. A reception featuring African food will follow, and the program will conclude with a dance for the public to traditional and modern African music.

Another major UT Africa Semester event this month is “Many Splendored: African Art From Regional Collectors” at UT’s Ewing Gallery, 1715 Volunteer Blvd., Feb. 9 – March 4. A public preview reception is set for Saturday Feb. 8, 6-8 p.m.

“This exhibition affords the Knoxville community the unique opportunity to experience African Art, which has seldom if ever been on public display,” gallery Director Sam Yates said. “It is as if each Ewing Gallery visitor will be permitted entrance into private worlds of each of the 13 participating collectors.”

The exhibition includes statements by each collector on their passions and motivations for collecting African art. It is comprised of more than 250 pieces from utilitarian objects such as baskets, clothing and textiles, to ceremonial and religious works such as masks, jewelry and sculpture.

UT already has opened two other major exhibits on display for Africa Semester. “Images of Human Rights Portfolio,” an exhibit of art from South Africa now on display at the University Center Concourse, will move to the College of Law building Feb. 1 through July.

“The World Moves – We Follow: Celebrating African Art,” an exhibit of more than 100 Africa art items at UT’s McClung Museum, will be open until May 18.

A theatrical performance of “The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite” will run Feb. 6-22 at UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre. Playwright Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this adaptation based on the classic Greek play.

He has fought for change and peace in his native Nigeria through his work as a writer, through his time as a political prisoner, and through his exile from his home country

An international conference, “Cultures In Motion: The Africa Connection,” is scheduled Feb. 6-9 at the UT Black Cultural Center, International House, Hodges Library and University Center.

Dr. Carolyn Hodges, professor and head of modern foreign languages and literature who co-chairs Africa Semester, said more than 60 scholars from around the world have indicated they will present papers at the conference.

A film series called “Films from Africa and the Diaspora” will be presented in February as part of Africa Semester. Screenings include:

“Hijack Stories” by Oliver Schmitz (2000, 94 minutes), 6 p.m., Feb. 11, Hodges Library Auditorium.

“Genesis” by Cheick Oumar Sissoko (1998, 100 minutes), 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Feb. 16, Clarence Brown Theatre. Admission is $2 with UT ID, $4 general public.

A lecture by Haile Gerima, acclaimed Ethiopian filmmaker and Howard University professor, with reception and screening of Gerima’s film “Sankofa” (1993, 124 minutes) 3 p.m., Feb. 18, Hodges Library Auditorium.

“Lumumba” by Raoul Peck (2000, 115 min.), 6 p.m., Feb. 25, Hodges Library Auditorium.

UT also is sponsoring an Africa Semester Information Booth at the Knoxville Home and Garden Show, Feb. 20-23, at Knoxville Convention Center.

For more information, visit the Africa Semester website.