Americans in Burma: The Art of Collecting
Location: North and Rotunda Gallery
Through a great diversity of objects donated by Americans to the Burma Art Collection, this exhibition examines the critical importance of preserving the past for understanding the present and for transmitting to future generations. The objects illuminate the life of 20th century Americans in Burma as they moved abroad at the request of a new Burmese government after independence from the British in 1948 and lived there with roles as advisors, educators, scholars, diplomats, missionaries, or travelers.
From a sacred altar of Buddha images and manuscripts to musical instruments, textiles, silver, bronze, ivory, and lacquerware, the artworks on view tell individual American stories and their love for Burmese arts and crafts. The exhibition asks how these objects may reveal a “true” local tradition or respond by adapting to the western taste and growing souvenir market.
Local Visions II
Location: South Gallery
Local Visions II is a sequel to the first Local Visions exhibition at the NIU Art Museum held in 2015. It will highlight the personal collections of objects that can be found in the homes of local residents. Many of these collectors started at a young age, making significant sacrifices to fuel their growing passion, including making down payments, paying in installments or trading either their own artwork or labor for artwork that would enrich their living environment.
This fall, we will present two explorations of what seems needed – Dialogue: a small group show curated by Jo Burke, and Mourning: a slightly bigger group show curated by Millicent Kennedy and Michael Chambers. These shows will run from Aug. 29 to Oct. 14, 2023.
Our winter 23-24 exhibition suite will be a collaboration with the Center for Burma Studies on food issues and concerns which was postponed from 2023. What is for Supper? What is a Meal? and Food for the Soul: Belief and Healing in Burma/Myanmar in the Age of COVID will open on Nov. 14, 2023 to Dec. 16, 2023 and Jan. 16 through Feb. 17, 2024. We will be closed during university holiday.