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Release: Immediate

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Baba Wague Diakite is pronounced BAH-bah wah-GAY jah-kee-TAY

Works by West African artist Baba Wague Diakite will be on view in the UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An exhibition of work by West African artist Baba Wague Diakite will be on view at the University of Iowa Museum of Art from Saturday, Feb. 13 through Sunday,

April 25 in the museum's Focus I gallery. "Baba Wague Diakite: African Folktales" will feature approximately 30 colorful ceramic tiles created to illustrate children's books.

Diakite will be on hand to give a lecture and gallery tour of this exhibition at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 as part of the museum's weekly Perspectives series.

Diakite, born and raised in Mali, West Africa, emigrated to the United States in 1985 and has since gone on to achieve great success as both a ceramicist and painter. His artwork, created in a whimsical style, uses vividly painted tiles with animated lines to narrate stories from African mythology and history.

Over the past few years, Diakite has illustrated and published several children's books with his ceramic tile work. The exhibition will include the original tile illustrations from "The Hunter Man and the Crocodile" and his most recent book, "Ba Musa the Hatseller," based upon popular West African fables.

Vicki Rovine, UI Museum of Art curator of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, said, "We are pleased to be showing the work of such a versatile and inventive artist and writer. We've seen a lot of the traditional African arts at the museum, and now this is an opportunity to see the work of a contemporary African artist. Unlike many of the traditional objects in our collections, which serve religious or political functions, his ceramics are created as artworks, either as illustrations or to be seen on display."

Diakite's work, using children's books and fanciful color tiles, is both approachable and engaging to children of all ages.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for the 1998-99 Perspectives series at the UI Museum of Art, through the University of Iowa Foundation.