Throughout South Asia, the Goddess Devi is an important cultural and religious symbol in both Hindu and Buddhist communities. The variety of her forms, both wrathful and peaceful, underscores the dynamic nature of this figure. This lecture examines the roots of the goddess tradition in ancient India and the contemporary aspects of Devi’s worship, addressing issues of gender, power, and authority. Particular attention will be placed on understanding the cultural contexts — religious, philosophical, and political — that motivated the creation of these art objects across the subcontinent by examining key works in the collection of the VMFA.
Speaker: Kerry Lucinda Brown
George Catlin recorded for posterity the appearances and customs of the Indian tribes of North America. Between 1830 and 1836, Catlin made five trips to the American West. From his visits to 58 tribes, he produced 485 paintings and collected over seven tons of artifacts. These he exhibited in the United States and Europe as Catlin’s Indian Gallery. Throughout his life, Catlin struggled to keep the collection whole and pursued its acquisition by the newly created Smithsonian Institution. This lecture looks at Catlin’s life from his travels through the American West to the end of his career when, facing bankruptcy, he traveled to South America and rekindled his interest in painting and the scientific recording of Native American life.
Speaker: Jeffrey Allison
The response of European collectors to the art of the indigenous people of the New World encouraged Native American artists to use more recognizably ‘European’ forms and materials in their work while still producing items that tourists would find suitably ‘Indian.’ This lecture will explore the bead and quillwork of the North Atlantic coast, the pottery production of the Southwest, and the carving and weavings of the Northwest coast.
Speaker: Johanna Minich
Expand your knowledge of African American culture by examining art in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ collection. This lecture will observe many works by artists who deal with African American life and history as well as art that ranges in time period, style, and subject matter. Gain an understanding of and appreciation for the discipline of African American art.
Speaker: Karen Getty
Design is all around us — from the basket carried at the grocery store to Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #541 admired outside Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art. Through the review of design concepts and completed works of art, this presentation explores the fundamentals of design. Innovation, aesthetics, elements of art, manipulation of forms and ideas, and collaboration are addressed. By delving into design, participants gain a sense of design literacy and discover how to think like designers.
Speaker: Margaret Hancock