Smithsonian Institution, International Art Museums Division announces its second annual symposium,
“Who defines the contemporary? Diaspora and Experiences in the Visual Arts"
Saturday, October 4, 2003
Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Independence Avenue at 7th Street, SW
On Saturday, October 4, 2003, the Smithsonian’s International Art Museums— National Museum of African Art, Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design—will host its second annual symposium, “Who Defines the Contemporary? Diaspora and Experiences in the Visual Arts.” This panel discussion addresses the challenges of presenting the works of visual artists practicing outside their countries of origin.
Through a keynote address and two panel discussions—Politics of Exhibition and Contemporary Markets—the symposium will bring together international artists, critics and curators Ghada Amer, Luis Camnitzer, Iftikhar Dadi, Fereshteh Daftari, Elizabeth Harney, Deepak Talwar and others. Art critic and curator Dan Cameron will serve as the discussion’s moderator, and Okwui Enwezor will give the keynote address. The symposium is funded by a Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies grant.
“With their commitment to Asian and African traditions as well as to modern and contemporary art, the international art museums are uniquely positioned to provide a global perspective on artistic expressions of the present,” said Tom Lentz, head of the Smithsonian’s International Art Museums Division.
This year’s symposium will consider experiences of migration, negotiations of personal, artistic and group identities; examinations of tradition, and fashionings of modernism both globally and locally by contemporary artists.
In the last few years, a number of exhibitions of contemporary arts have focused on diaspora as an experience and a process. Artists from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America bring with them their attachments to home as they move elsewhere for political, social or economic reasons, and this process is central to their creative practice.
Panelists have been asked to speak on several aspects of this phenomenon, addressing topics such as
“diaspora” as an organizing concept in a transnational world
links between diaspora identity and the making of visual arts
the relevance of diaspora as a category and its varying definitions and uses in collecting and exhibition practices
the market’s engagement with diaspora artists—measures of authenticity and value
artists’ relationships to tradition-based arts in their works
community vs. individual in relation to notions of diaspora; belonging to a larger group and expressing that set of traditions in one’s work
gender and diaspora
Due to limited seating, advance registration is required. Please reserve a place by September 27, 2003.
To register, please call 202/357.4600 x204, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at http://africa.si.edu/educ/symposium2003/rsvp.html. On-site check-in begins at 12:30 p.m. at Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, October 4.
The morning of the symposium, Curator Elizabeth Harney will give a special tour of the National Museum of African Art’s exhibitions Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the diaspora and Journeys and Destinations: African artists on the move.
For more information about the symposium, please visit our website.
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art
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