School of Art, Media, and Technology

Between Memory and Museum

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Between Memory and Museum

Monday, September 21, 2015 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Orozco Room, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
66 West 12th Street, Room A712, New York, NY 10011

Between Memory and Museum

A film and talk by Arun Wolf of Tara Books, Chennai, India

Between Memory and Museum—a book and a film—is a reflection on the museum as an institution that preserves, creates and disseminates knowledge by 38 folk and tribal artists from across India. The project was initiated by Tara Books, an independent publisher of illustrated books for children and adults based in Chennai, India, which has a 20-year history of working with indigenous artists to invite them to the form of the book as authors and illustrators rather than as anthropological subjects.  These artists come from long traditions of floor painting, mural making, and tattoo art that have then migrated to paper and canvas.

The book is based on an extended conversation around issues such as changing traditions and experimentation, the role of intervention from outside communities, and the emergence of new platforms for creative expression and focuses on one of the significant repositories of information about indigenous peoples: the museum.  Told in a dialogue through words and images, the artists raise questions about museum representations, who has the power to put whom in the museum, their ability to convey the sense of a lived life and their own ways of remembering and passing on their knowledge and traditions.

The short film is set in the Manav Sangrahalaya, an anthropological museum in Bhopal, India, where the conversation developed in the book was initiated.

Filmmaker Arun Wolf will introduce the film and the project.  Books will be available for sale.  Reception to follow.

This event is organized by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center with the generous support of the School of Art and Design History and Theory and the School of Art Media and Technology at Parsons and the India-China Institute at The New School.  

Additional support comes from the Vera List Center for Art and Politics (NSPE), the Graduate Institute of Design, Ethnography and Social Thought (NSSR) and Global Studies (NSPE).

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