【July 15】 ATOM + ART: Representing Irradiated Polynesia and the Navajo Nation(被爆の表象:ポリネシアとナバホネイションを巡って)

ATOM + ART: Representing Irradiated Polynesia and the Navajo Nation(被爆の表象:ポリネシアとナバホネイション)

Photo by Danika Worthington/Cronkite News

The nuclear age left deeply radioactive wounds that are still detectable today. The Atomic Art session will focus on two parts of the world: Polynesia and the Navajo Nation. The impact of French nuclear tests in Polynesia continues to this day, and the same can be said of uranium mining for the Manhattan Project in the US. These lands, the life and memory of the people connected to them, are still radioactive. Two speakers will examine the ways some contemporary artists engage with and represent these nuclear wounds. 


Time: July 15 – Friday 4th period (14:50-16:20 JST)
Venue: Room 5214 (center Zone – Building 5) and Zoom
Language: English with Japanese translation

時間:7月15日 4限
場所:Room 5214 (center Zone – Building 5) and Zoom

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 894 1944 5404
Passcode: T3BHP5


Anaïs Maurer

Raised in Mā’ohi Nui (French occupied Polynesia), Anaïs Maurer is Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University, and Faculty Associate at Columbia University’s Center for Nuclear Studies. Her research foregrounds how Pacific artists and activists have resisted environmental racism in Oceania, from the genocidal epidemics of earlier centuries to our contemporary period of nuclear colonialism and carbon imperialism. She strives to facilitate decolonial dialogue across cultures and languages and is involved in various translation projects to bring the Indigenous literature of the French-occupied Pacific to an Anglophone audience. Her research has been featured in BBC World News, Critical Ethnic Studies, The Contemporary Pacific, Francosphères, French Studies, The Journal of Transnational American Studies, and various collective monographs.


Shawn Skabelund

Shawn is an artist and curator working in landscapes to reveal their complex issues, ecologies and cultural histories. For thirty years, he has been a successful site-specific, place-based installation artist, creating nearly eighty installations throughout the United States. During the past decade, he has also curated several exhibitions that explore themes that are topical and of grave concern, from migration along the U.S/Mexico border (Beyond the Border: The Wall, the People and the Land) to catastrophic wildfires in the Southwest (Fires of Change) and uranium mining and its impact on the Diné (Hope & Trauma in a Poisoned Land). He is currently working on a new project/exhibition focusing on the sacred land of the Apache, Oak Flat.

Shawn’s creative research and place-based craft and practice have focused on what Wendell Berry calls “the unsettling of America,” and how historical and contemporary Manifest Destiny have impacted specific landscapes and cultures in the United States. The landscapes he lives and works in become his studio, not as subject matter to draw or paint, but to observe and look, and discover materials that he can collect to create the portraits of these landscapes. To prepare for each piece, he researches the history of that place to learn how the interaction between the wild and the human has determined the cultural makeup of that locale. This “collaboration with place” directs Shawn to the materials he will use and helps him understand what he wants to say in his work and share with his audience.


This event is organized by Dr. Gabrielle Decamous, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, Kyushu University (https://mitpress.mit.edu/contributors/gabrielle-decamous) and is supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research) Grant Number JP17K13371.

Contact: g.decamous@gmail.com

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