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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 | 10 AM - 5 PM

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7 | 10 AM - 5 PM

DANCE PARTY, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6 | 9 PM TO MIDNIGHT

SALEM, MASS. -- The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is proud to present Imagine, South Asia, an action-packed weekend celebrating South Asian culture and heritage on February 6 and 7.

 

Part of PEM’s Present Tense Initiative, this special weekend celebrates the eight nations and more than 5,000 years of human history that comprise South Asia. The region’s rich and diverse artistic heritage will be explored through the unveiling of an award-winning contemporary installation by Anila Agha, a writing workshop with National Book Award finalist Carla Power, the U.S. premiere of the BBC documentary Treasures of the Indus and a dance party with renowned London DJ Ben “the Bee” Taylor and the UK arts collective House of Honey.

 

“South Asia penetrates almost every aspect of PEM,” says PEM Curator of South Asian Art Sona Datta. “It’s part of the DNA of this museum and so we’re taking a full weekend to look at the diversity of art, culture and people that make up this amazing region of the world.”

 

OPENING WEEKEND PROGRAM

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6

AnilaAghaIntersections

 

EXHIBITION ON VIEW

Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha

10 am–5 pm | Wheatland Gallery

The Peabody Essex Museum presents Intersections, an immersive single-room installation that conjures a cross-cultural intersection of Spain’s Alhambra Palace, a site where a thousand years ago Islamic and Christian traditions thrived in coexistence.

 

FILM

Treasures of the Indus, Episode 1: Pakistan Unveiled

11 am–noon | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

Join us for the U.S. premiere of the BBC documentary Treasures of the Indus, written and narrated by PEM Curator of South Asian Art Sona Datta. Pakistan Unveiled looks at the long, multi-faith narrative of the region’s past from the early cities in the Indus Valley, Pakistan’s rich Buddhist history to the garden city of Mughal Lahore. Welcome by Datta and exhibition artist Anila Agha precedes film.
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Hugh Thomson

 

DISCUSSION

Pakistan Unveiled: A New Country With an Old History

Noon–12:45 pm | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

Discussion includes BBC award-winning director Hugh Thomson, artist Faiza Butt, historian Ayesha Jalal and Curator Sona Datta.

DROP-IN ART MAKING  

1–4 pm | Atrium

A multicultural sensibility characterized the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the Taj Mahal in 1632 for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Create your own design with repeated symbols based on the word “love” written in scripts from a variety of cultures.

 

ARTIST INTERVENTION

2:15–2:45 pm | Meet at information desk

Tickets available day of program

Artist Mithu Sen takes guests on an alternative tour of the museum.

 

CONCERT

2:15–3 pm | East India Marine Hall

Seating is first-come, first-served

Jawwad Noor, disciple of Shahid Parvez Khan, performs a khayyal recital with sitar and tabla.

 

FILM

Treasures of the Indus, Episode 2: The Other Side of the Taj Mahal

3:15–4:15 pm | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

The second episode looks at the story of the people of the Mughal Empire who melded their Persian heritage with the indigenous Rajput traditions of India to create an aesthetic that culminated in the impossible grandeur of the great Mughals.

 

DISCUSSION

India Today: Identity at the Intersection of Cultures

4:15–5 pm | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

Join exhibition artist Anila Agha, collector Nirmalya Kumar and PEM's Sona Datta, Curator of South Asian Art, and Trevor Smith, Curator of the Present Tense.

 

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DANCE PARTY

9 pm-midnight | Atrium | Members $15, nonmembers $20, students $10 | 21+, cash bar

Dance the night away with U.K. arts collective House of Honey as they present a musical extravaganza with visuals in response to Intersections, a single-room immersive exhibition by Anila Quayyum Agha. Enjoy renowned DJ Ben "the Bee" Taylor's intoxicating mix of music inflected with South Asia's many musical traditions -- from traditional ragas and the ecstasy of Sufi poetry set to music to upbeat Bollywood rhythms. Tickets at pem.org/calendar. Limited tickets at the door.

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7

 

EXHIBITION ON VIEW

Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha

10 am–5 pm | Wheatland Gallery

 

FILM

Treasures of the Indus, Episode 3: Of Gods & Men

11 am–noon | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

Introduced by Spike Geilinger (director and cameraman), the third and final episode of the series looks at the development of Hinduism from the earliest rock-cut shrines to the great temple cities of Southern India.

 

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Carla Power

 

DISCUSSION

Sacred Spaces

1–2 pm | Morse Auditorium

Tickets available day of program

Where can Islam and the West come together? Where can the traditional meet the modern, the secular touch the divine, exclusion become understanding? Join National Book Award finalist Carla Power (If The Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran) and Intersections artist Anila Agha for a conversation about bringing together opposing forces and inhabiting a sacred space. Moderated by The Tannery Series. Book signing with Power follows the discussion.

 

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Anila Agha

 

WORKSHOP

Writing Sacred Space

2:30–4:30 pm| Bartlett Gallery

Reservations required by February 5 at pem.org/calendar

Many often feel caught between opposing powers — past and present, alienation and belonging, male and female, shadow and light. In this workshop, these tensions are tapped as a source of creative energy for writing. Guided by National Book Award finalist Carla Power, Intersections artist Anila Agha and Tannery Series founder Kirun Kapur, participants work toward creating art that accommodates contradiction and makes space for multiple possibilities. The program is focused on writing and spending time with Agha in her installation. Participants are encouraged to attend Sunday’s film and discussion before workshop.

 

FREE WITH ADMISSION UNLESS INDICATED ABOVE | SALEM RESIDENTS FREE WITH ID
MORE INFORMATION AT PEM.ORG/CALENDAR

PHOTO CREDITS
1. PEM Curator of South Asian Art Sona Datta during the making of
Treasures of the Indus. 2. Photo by BBC/Ben Taylor/Tern TV

3. Intersections, 2012, Anila Quayyum Agha. Photo courtesy of the artist.

4. Hugh Thompson, courtesy photo

5. The Peabody Essex Museum Bollywood dance party in 2014. Photo courtesy of PEM.

6. Carla Power, courtesy photo

7. Anila Agha, courtesy photo

 

SUPPORTER

Lowell Institute

 

PRESENT TENSE INITIATIVE

The Present Tense initiative is an extension of PEM's contemporary art program and celebrates the central role that creative expression plays in shaping our world today. The Present Tense Initiative engages leading creative agents and thinkers to cultivate innovative experiences fueled by the intersection of cultures, disciplines and technologies. By encouraging innovation and fostering new forms of creativity, PEM’s initiative seeks to push the boundaries of what a museum experience can be.

 

ABOUT THE TANNERY SERIES

The Tannery Series is an arts organization that presents serious literature in a manner that makes it fresh, accessible and fun. Originally co-founded in 2010 by poet Kirun Kapur and writer Dawne Shand, the series has focused on bringing authors to Boston’s North Shore whose writing confronts the world in essential and curious ways. Running such memorable events as “Love, Lust and Loathing” and “Are You Cool?” — often for standing-room-only audiences — the series is known for its smart, combustible literary programming. In 2013, The Tannery Series began collaborating with the Peabody Essex Museum to provide literary programs that complement the museum’s exhibitions. Now in its fifth season, The Tannery Series is proud to have showcased a wide range of literary voices and ideas — from Pulitzer Prize winning poets to avant-garde crime novelists.

 

ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM

Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM's campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States, and the Phillips Library, which holds one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm, and the third Thursday of every month until 9 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $18; seniors $15; students $10. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866?745?1876 or visit pem.org

 


PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -  whitney_vandyke@pem.org

Dinah Cardin  -  Press Officer / Special Projects Writer  -  978-542-1830  -  dinah_cardin@pem.org

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