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Waterscapes and Wet Bodies Through the Colonial Eye: West Africa, Hawai'i, and India Exhibit

February 7, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Opening reception: noon-1 p.m. Feb. 7, KL362

The exhibit runs through May 7 in the library's third-floor exhibit space.

Exhibition curators are professors Aditi Chandra and Kevin Dawson; the digital exhibition curator is Rina Faletti.

Water and wet bodies have been viewed in a variety of ways in different historical periods and geographies. This exhibit illustrates how people in West Africa, Hawai‘i and India have, historically, understood water; incorporated it into designed landscapes, places of worship and residence; grappled with its scarcity; and practiced sensual immersive cultural practices such as swimming, bathing, surfing and ritualized blood sports with marine creatures.

These traditions provided lives with meaning, purpose and value and dignified nude and semi-nude human bodies as gifts from the creator. By contrast, European Colonialism viewed water as a dangerous space yet also promoted water as picturesque, consumable and touristic in visual culture.

This exhibition features a rich collection of original early modern and modern (ca. 1600 – 1940s) materials of visual culture, including newspapers, travelogues, paintings, photographs, prints and postcards.


Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library, 362

Contact Information

Center for the Humanities