Curating Nation | China, India and the Role of Art in the Asian Century with Prof. Prasenjit Duara

Date: 19 January 2012, Thursday 
Time: 6pm
Venue: NUS Museum

Admission free. To register email or call 6516 8817 / 8429

This talk will use the opportunity presented by the ongoing “Western Heavens” series in Shanghai that has, over the last two years, been bringing together artists, filmmakers, writers, social and art theorists and their works from China and India, to grasp how contemporary artists, curators and intellectuals are conceiving of the role of art in bridging and negotiating the gap between societies in Asia.

In what ways has the role of art in society changed over the last century? Although it is perceived to have a social role, art is both big business for the rich and also often divorced intellectually and aesthetically from popular tastes. In this context, it is perhaps necessary to grasp the changed socio-cultural context and institutions through which art can play a public role. The presentation is a preliminary effort to approach these questions from a historical perspective.

An internationally reputed historian of China and Asia more broadly, Prof. Duara has delivered over 50 keynote and distinguished lectures internationally since 1996. In 2008, he delivered the keynote address at the anniversary conference of Thirty Years of Reform and Development in the PRC in Peking University, organized by the Ministry of Finance, PRC, Asian Development Bank, & Peking University, and in 2010 he represented one of eight global Indian Thinkers in the series From West Heavens to the Central Plain: India-China Summit on Social Thought held in Shanghai. His research interests include social and cultural history, problems of development, nationalism and imperialism, religion, historical thought and social theory. He also serves on the editorial boards of several international journals and on the advisory and review boards of scholarly institutions.  He has written four books and edited another.

About Curating Nation Talk Series
In recent years, the idea of the nation has been studied not merely as a site of economic, political or geographic persuasions but also as a cultural object of analysis. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive | The Museum in Malaya, this talk series brings together leading art practitioners from Southeast Asia in an attempt at discerning the complexities involved in curating aspects of the nation within museological or gallery settings. Ranging from the deployment of exhibitions as a mode of cultural production, to the play of cosmopolitan identities at international biennales, curating the nation is conceived as a platform for the interdisciplinary discussion of memory, object and practice.

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