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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History will display “Namibia: The Smile of Africa,” a collection of African-inspired works by Gainesville artist Mary Jane Volkmann, April 3-Aug.3. The exhibit includes a number of new and original oil paintings, prints of the artist’s work and five issues of postage stamps.

Inspired by 23 years living and working in Namibia, Volkmann’s exhibit depicts the life, land and culture of Namibia’s native people. The exhibit complements “Inside Africa,” the newest temporary exhibit at the Florida Museum on display through Sept. 7.

Volkmann will discuss the background on the pieces in her exhibit with museum visitors and elaborate on concepts from “Inside Africa” at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 7 during a scheduled “Living Exhibit” talk. Regular admission prices to “Inside Africa” apply. As part of the discussion, she will describe her experiences as co-founder of the Tsumeb Arts and Craft Center in northern Namibia, an educational and charitable trust founded to help Namibians develop, promote and market their art.

Volkmann’s portfolio also includes portraits, coin designs, seven issues of postage stamps, book illustrations, greeting card designs, murals, paintings for private collectors and a commissioned book, “Glimpses of Namibian Life: A Moment in Time,” which includes 30 paintings. More information on Volkmann’s work and the Tsumeb Arts and Craft Center is available online,

Based on a permanent exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago, “Inside Africa” engages visitors through many hands-on activities, three-dimensional settings, multimedia presentations and an exceptional collection of artifacts. The exhibit offers a deeper understanding of the vitality, richness and significance of Africa’s many cultures from historical and contemporary perspectives.

Admission to “Inside Africa” is $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for Florida residents, seniors age 62 and above and students, and $4 for children ages 3-12. For more information, visit

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Writer: Caroline Glagola
Media contact: Paul Ramey, 352-273-2054,