The University of Iowa

'Art and Memory' the topic of May 4 WorldCanvass

April 26th, 2012

Join us for the final WorldCanvass of the 2011-2012 season when we consider the connections between art and memory. Memories live and resonate in both the conscious and unconscious spaces of our experience, but art allows for expression that moves beyond simple narrative. How does a poet draw upon memory? What does a masterful printmaker, painter, musician or writer take from his/her own personal experience and what is sheer imagination? Why is art such a powerful medium for the preservation and expression of a community’s cultural memory?

Our guests on the May 4 WorldCanvass will answer these questions and more, coming at the topic with a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Marvin Bell, Iowa’s first poet laureate and longtime faculty member in the UI Writers’ Workshop, will open the program with a collection of poems and reflections on how memory has affected his work.

Next, we honor the legacy of internationally-renowned printmaker, Mauricio Lasansky. Lasansky recently passed away at the age of 97, having left an indelible mark on the art and teaching of printmaking. Lasansky’s son Phillip, will join Terry Pitts, director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, and Anita Jung, associate professor of printmaking at the UI, to flesh out the man and contextualize the work, which includes such breathtaking compositions as The Nazi Drawings.

We follow the Lasansky retrospective with a conversation with contemporary Spanish painter and filmmaker Felix de la Concha and his wife and collaborator Ana Merino, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Spanish language MFA program in Creative Writing at the UI. Winner of the Prix de Rome, de la Concha’s paintings hang in museums and galleries around the world. De la Concha and Merino will describe portraiture and film projects of recent years where he paints and records his subjects while they talk about their lives.

Hugh Ferrer, writer, teacher, and assistant director of the International Writing Program, will consider imagination and memory as key sources of inspiration for a writer. He’ll also explore “the language of music; the music of writing” with particular reference to the MusicIC festival planned for this summer.

Pianist Joshua Russell will perform music of Haitian composers and share his experiences working with Haitians and others to rebuild and provide instruments for Haiti’s only music school—a beloved and beautiful side of Haiti's culture that many people never get to see.

And, in our final segment, we’ll look at art and memory in the creation and preservation of culture and tradition in times of global dispersion and dislocation. Loyce Arthur, UI associate professor of theatre and specialist in the Carnaval arts, will describe the homeland connection Carnival brings to people living in the diaspora. Jennifer Shook will shed light on the role that art and activism can play in evoking memories as well as the literature of memory and memorial. Robin Armstrong and Ryan Rasmussen, the creative minds behind “Stir-Fry,” will explain how this program helps individuals translate stories of resettlement into visual works of art…addressing the struggles and triumphs of displaced populations.

Be a member of the live audience on May 4, at 5 p.m., in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum or check out viewing and listening options on the International Programs website. We hope to see you there!

(The next season of WorldCanvass begins on September 21, 2012, with a program on Napoleon’s legacy.)