The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Asian Exchanges connects artwork from the East and West

The Asian Exchanges tour highlights the art that connects the East and West. Photo courtesy of Claire Drysdale.
Buy Photos The Asian Exchanges tour highlights the art that connects the East and West. Photo courtesy of Claire Drysdale.

Art&Life and the Phillips Ambassadors will be partnering with the Ackland Art Museum to put on Asian Exchanges on Thursday, Jan. 18. The event will feature three objects from the Ackland’s collection highlighting the artistic exchange between East and West cultures.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a 30-minute reception in the lobby that will be catered by Spicy 9. The reception will be followed by the tour which will feature one object from the "Color Across Asia" exhibit, one from the "Religion and Ritual" exhibit and one from the permanent collection in the European art section. Each part of the tour will be lead by a different person to represent both Art&Life and the Ackland’s knowledge of Asian and Western art.

“We selected those objects because they somehow demonstrated exchange of ideas or techniques between East and West, so the three objects we selected are very different, but they all fall under that category,” said Eliza Filene, a member of the Phillips Ambassadors and The Daily Tar Heel Editorial Board. “We are trying to parallel the experience students have when they study abroad in Asia with the Phillips Ambassadors program with this artistic exchange that you can see with the objects and the collection.”

Art&Life is a student organization that promotes art education, and the Phillips Ambassadors allows students to study abroad in Asia. The groups have never collaborated together with the Ackland Art Museum, but due to the museum’s proximity to campus, working together was intriguing to all three parties, especially when it came to highlighting this East-West exchange.

“We are trying to convey that these cross-cultural exchanges happen both ways — it wasn’t only the West being influenced by the East, it was also the East being influenced by the West,” said Rebekah Cockram, another member of the Phillips Ambassadors.

Claire Drysdale, the co-chair of Art&Life, explained that the event will hopefully deepen students’ understanding of art as a whole.

“We want people to come away from the tour feeling like the art of different cultures is relevant to art from their culture, and there aren’t these boundaries necessarily between ideas that these artists are using and how this cross cultural artistic dialogue has opened up new possibilities in the arts,” Drysdale said.

This event will be particularly helpful when it comes to art education as students will get to hear from experts in the field.

“When we walk around the Ackland sometimes, we don’t know how to process the art that we’re seeing, so I’m really excited for students to be able to learn some of the expertise of these art teachers and be able to experience art in this deep way,” Drysdale said.

Another benefit of the event is that it will allow students to experience a more in-depth exploration of art than they are used to.

“Rarely do we spend 15 minutes looking at one piece of art," Filene said. "I can say that the only time I’ve done that is on Art&Life tours at the Ackland, and it was a very transformative experience just to get that guidance in how you see the art.”

For students that are still debating whether or not they want to go to Asian Exchanges, Filene added one last sale pitch: “(You’ll) experience art and sushi like you never have before.”


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