Migration Stories: book spines there burrowed

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Third Floor
Dates: March 27 – June 9, 2018
Public reading: April 19, 5:30 p.m.

A composite photograph showing a clenched fist holding a blurred driver’s license with three watches around the hand, wrist and forearm.

UndocuTime by Alejandro Monroy, AM’17, 2017.

Come to read and see writing and art drawing on experiences of migration.  This exhibit features the work of University of Chicago community members and of student writers and photographers including Urvi Khumbhat, Felipe Bomeny, Erik Mueller, and Gautama Mehta, together with that of faculty Vidura Bahadur, Laura Letinsky, Srikanth Reddy and Vu Tran. This wonderful work can be understood anew seeing it creatively set and reset among the beautiful and disturbing pages of artists’ books, including work by Zarina, Ana Mendieta, Paul Chan, Eva Fuková, Jacob Lawrence, Gerhard Richter, Mona Hatoum, and more.

Migration experiences may be full of disaster and hope, disorientation and transformation, and they generate stories, reflections, and images to be carried in turn.  The Migration Stories Project, begun through the University of Chicago creative writing program, has recently produced an anthology with some thirty stories, poems, essays, and documentary photographs from a huge variety of places and people who now live near the University of Chicago.  The anthology has taken its place in the Regenstein Library collection, and this installation celebrates the bravery and work of anthology contributors with the exhibition: book spines there burrowed.

A faded, horizontally printed page with dense columns of Japanese written characters and eight small blue-toned landscape photographs.

Japanese Historical Map. Awaji Annai by Hanshichi Bando, Meiji 36 [1903]

In three glass cases, the work of Migration Stories contributors is drawn together with art books from the Library’s collection, creating an art installation of its own.  Migration Stories: book spines there burrowed was curated by two University of Chicago students, Amber Collins and Lydia Mullin, who used for their title a line from contributor Jacqueline Feng’s poetry.  In the curators’ vision, the exhibition is “told in three parts: mapping, making home, and photographing motion.” They write that “its seams are not pulled from any one contribution to the anthology, but are instead made from the words, phrases, and sentences of its texts or the hues and negative spaces of its photographs.”  Come and contemplate art and writing that grow out of the human experience of migration, an experience that is a part of the history of every member of the University of Chicago community and of our larger neighborhood and community.

Related Event

A special, free public reading by anthology contributors and University of Chicago creative writing faculty will be held at the Regenstein Library, Room 122 on Thursday, April 19th, at 5:30 pm.

Related Resources

Migration Stories: A Community Anthology, 2017 is available in Knowledge@UChicago, the University of Chicago’s digital repository.

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