Thanks to a grant from the Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation, both the India China Institute and the Eugene Lang College at The New School have been able to engage more actively with the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) here in New York City. This includes free membership for all Lang undergraduate students, and funding support for several Rubin+Lang Student Fellows.
Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum of Art is home to a comprehensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. The artistic heritage of this vast and culturally varied area of the world remains relatively obscure. Through changing exhibitions and an array of engaging public programs, the museum offers opportunities to explore the artistic legacy of the Himalayan region and to appreciate its place in the context of world cultures.
The museum’s collection consists of paintings, sculptures, and textiles. Although works of art range in date over two millennia, most reflect major periods and schools of Himalayan art from the twelfth century onward.
Rubin+Lang Student Fellows
In the spring semester of 2014 ICI offered five Rubin+Lang Student Fellowships for students at Eugene Lang College who were taking one of several courses being offered related to the Himalaya. Students submitted applications for a project related to the content of their class and were encouraged to use materials from the Rubin Museum as part of their projects.
The following video was produced by a Lang Student Fellow, Aron Silverstein, reflecting on his experience with Tibetan prayer flags.
In addition to supporting student visits to the RMA and engaging with museum materials, funding from this initiative supported a series of public events at The New School, including the following:
Invisible Villages & Flying Monsters: Folktales About Place Among the Tibetans of Geza
Talk by Eric Mortensen, Feb 19th, 2014
Eric Mortensen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Guilford College in North Carolina. He has been involved with ICI for a number of years, including leading guided tours of the Songstan Monastery in Southern China for The New School’s summer India China Knowledge and Capacity Building Initiative. Professor Mortensen specializes in Tibetan and Buddhist oral culture.
Mani, The Hidden Valley of Happiness at a Crossroads
Film Screening and Talkback with producer Sonam Lama, Feb 21st, 2014
The documentary film Mani, The Hidden Valley of Happiness at a Crossroads introduces centuries old Buddhist architectural heritage, finds their connections with local people’s spiritual way of life, and highlights the challenges for preservation that is now urgent because of highway construction aiming to connect India and China. After the screening, we will host a talkback with producer Sonam Lama.
Sacred Geography: Tibet and Himalaya
Photo Exhibition with David Zurick, March 31st – April 16th, 2014
This exhibition drew from David Zurick’s decades of experience as a geographer, photographer, and explorer of the Himalaya, with twenty large black and white photographs of divine places undergoing change. The images featured in this exhibition were drawn from his new book Land of Pure Vision, and covered the full geographical reach of Tibet and the Himalaya. The exhibition highlighted many iconic natural places, such as the Source of the Ganges and sacred Mount Kailash, as well as numerous cultural sites including pilgrimage routes and famed sacred architectures.
Land of Pure Vision: The Sacred Geography of Tibet and the Himalaya
Talk by David Zurick, April 15th, 2014
David Zurick is a renowned photographer and geographer who has worked extensively in the Himalaya region. In 2009, he was given the prestigious Mount Everest Award for his Himalaya photo studies, and he has published several books, including Southern Crossings (2011) and Land of Pure Vision (forthcoming, 2014), which document sacred places in Tibet and the Himalaya over 10 years. Zurick’s talk was followed by a panel discussion with Eugene Lang Professor Mark Larrimore, Dominique Townsend, postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and Head of Interpretation at the Rubin Museum of Art, and Siddiq Wahad, former Director of the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Institute of Kashmir Studies.