USM Art Department

Unsettled Archives: Museum Interventions for Shifting Perspectives

October 7, 2020

Join us for two presentations that examine how museums and cultural institutions in Greenland and Maine are revisiting their permanent collections to begin new dialogues and experiences that address processes of decolonization, representation and ethics.

Dr. Darren Ranco, Professor of Anthropology and Chair of Native American Programs at the University of Maine, will discuss decolonizing partnerships and activities between UMaine and the Penobscot Nation. He will highlight the successes and challenges of digital repatriation of tribal cultural heritage items in the Fogler Library and the Hudson Museum, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for these items, and the reclamation of Indigenous spaces on campus through bilingual English-Penobscot signage.

Nivi Christensen, Museum Director of the Nuuk Art Museum (Nuummi Eqqumiitsulianik Saqqummersitsivik), will share the challenges that come with making a formerly private collection more diverse through strategic purchases. She will further discuss the museum’s acquisition and exhibition of contemporary Greenlandic artworks, like artist Pia Arke’s Arctic Hysteria, in contrast to the collection’s landscape paintings by white men (Grønlandsmalere). Further, she will reflect on the Greenlandic word for art, Eqqumiitsuliorneq that directly translates ‘to do/create something weird’ and challenges the viewer to reflect on both the one looking and what is being looked at.