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Celebrating the Poetry of Asia and the Middle East

Collage of images derived from itemsin the exhibit

 

 

 

 

 

 


Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Fifth Floor
Exhibit Dates: May 1 – June 30, 2018

For their inaugural joint exhibit, five area-studies librarians on the fifth floor of the Joseph Regenstein Library celebrate poetry from their own areas of expertise. The items highlight the diversity of poetry traditions.

Shown are one item to represent each of the three major poetic traditions of the Islamic Middle East: Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. Each item also offers an example of their respective traditions of manuscript illumination.

  • Laura Ring, Librarian for Southern Asia and Anthropology

Southern Indian Akam or love poems from the classical Tamil anthology Aiṅkuṟunūṟu.

Having followed one of the major incidents in Korean history, the poems provide insight to moments of sorrow, pain, forgiveness, and hope resulting from and surrounding the Jeju 4.3 Uprising in 1948.

Poetry in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) is an unparalleled system reaching its pinnacle in the development of the poem. Its great value consists of an ideal combination of thoughts and art. Li Bai and Du Fu are considered two superstar Tang Poets.

Shown are poems composed in the traditional fixed forms waka, haiku, and senryū.

War, Trauma, Memory

Soldier in front of flag on cover of the Anzac Book

Cover, The Anzac Book. 1916. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Dates: April 30 – August 31, 2018
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

It seems an understatement to note that war is traumatic to those who experience it in any way, shape or form. The pieces in this exhibition reflect their creators’ experiences in wars from the 16th century through the present day. Each was published or made public by their creators; by that action the creator invites us into the captured moment. We see, not a moment of trauma itself but a time after that moment, whether that be seconds or years. In this exhibition, the trauma of war is represented by that very absence of trauma, through the experience creators share with viewers, listeners or readers.

Here, photographs by soldiers or journalists at the scene share space with expressions of the effect of war created at a greater remove. Events are recounted at a personal, intimate level as in portraits of families or on a grand scale: the destruction of Dresden. Over time, images retain their power but may no longer serve the purpose for which they were made. For example, some of the items were created to be propaganda and here are displayed as art or as a curiosity. At times an overt intent of the creator or bias of the image is evident, and at others we need to remind ourselves that creators may have emotions hidden even from themselves. With images of war, in particular, the observer’s relationships to the conflict will affect the ways in which the object is understood. How many recall the stakes of the 30 Years War?

Drawing of soldiers

Jean Louis Forain. Le Poilu psychologue, [1918]. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Anchoring the exhibition is Francisco Goya’s Los desastres de la guerra, a book of prints etched in the early 19th century, left unpublished until 1863 for fear of censorship. The suite of plates Goya created in response to suffering he witnessed during the Napoleonic wars is considered to contain the first eyewitness images of war reporting. The book is opened to Plate 44 “Yo lo vi” (I saw it).

Indeed “Yo lo vi”: the images, sculpture, poetry, and music here are haunted by the very absence of violence and the persistence of memory.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Free and open to the public.

Yo lo vi

Francisco Goya. Plate 44, “Yo lo vi,” Los desastres de la guerra, 1893. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Related Event

In the Wake of the Bombs: Germany, 1945

May 14, 5 p.m.
Regenstein Library, Room 122

Professor Françoise Meltzer will speak about the book she is currently completing on the bombing of Germany in World War II: Through a Lens, Darkly. The talk is based on a series of photographs of the ruins taken by her mother in 1945.

Meltzer is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Professor in the Divinity School and the College, and Chair of Comparative Literature.

Cost: Free

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

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.

The Printing Press Comes to Eastern Europe in the Slavic Tongues

Exhibit Location: The Joseph Regenstein Library, Second Floor
Exhibit Dates: February 13 – June 1, 2018

Graving with Francysk Skorina 1517

Woodcut of Francysk Skorina 1517

 

2017 marked the quincentennial of the printing of the first translation of the Bible into the Belarusian language. Francysk Skaryna (1490-1552) is credited with publishing this translation.

From the start, the work reflects the international scope of the world of the printing press. Skorina’s Bible was translated into Belarusian and printed in Prague. From there it was shipped into Belarus to be distributed. The first Bulgarian book was printed in Germany and again shipped and distributed in Bulgaria. Printing presses started, closed and moved to new locations. Presses started throughout the area. Since then scholars have studied the changes brought by these books to language, culture, and other aspects of life. The exhibit reviews the history and study of the printing press in Eastern Europe through various vernacular tongues.

Well Equipped: Library Technology from Days Past

library worker with photoduplication equipment

From the Photographic Archive (URL: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/), Identifier: apf1-02019.

September 18, 2017 – June 7, 2018
Location: Crerar Library First Floor

Over the years Crerar Library has used the newest equipment and technologies to make books, journals and other information accessible to patrons.  These tools have evolved through the years.  A library card system has been replaced with online catalog with significant collections available electronically.   Early techniques for photocopying and microfilming materials have been eclipsed by digital scanning services.  Displayed are objects and photos of some of these earlier technologies used by the Library.

A Web version of this  exhibit is also available: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/collex/exhibits/well-equipped-library-technology-days-past/