Imagining the World: Unexplored Global Collections at Columbia

Arts, Performing & Graphic Arts

"Oh chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the hole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

― W. B. Yeats (Among School Children)

Documents recording creative expression through a multitude of mediums and genres are featured in this section. All items, across their formats, genres and content, express and embody the close dialogue between culture and the arts and the socio-political realities of individuals and groups. In their ability to embody important historical and cultural memories and experiences, and to influence as well as express and explore the role of creativity during times of political turmoil or specific social realities, they bear witness both to the evolution of aesthetic norms and standards, cultural and aesthetic practices generated or imposed by various socio-political paradigms, (constructivism, realism, etc.) as well as the exchanges between various cultures and artists straddling various periods and socio-political as well as aesthetic outlooks genres, and “norms”. In that sense, these expressions of creativity bear witness to humans’ infinite resilience and resourcefulness in expressing their realities through aesthetic means, and to the power of art to heal, expand understanding and connect people across cultures, eras, languages, and social realities. Manuscripts, booklets, drawings and sketches, comics, chapbooks which deal with a variety of topics and genres (including racism, colonialism, totalitarianism, constructivism, realism) and employ a variety of techniques and mediums (e.g. photomontage, collage, foldouts, pochoir, musical notes, etc.) are on display.

Global Studies / Lehman Library / 420 West 118th Street / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-3630 /