Fantasy coffin designer Paa Joe bringing his brand of underground art to IUPUI, IU Bloomington

Revised: All events with Paa Joe have been cancelled as of 9-13-18

Many artists put their heart, soul and passion into their work for the world to see. For Ghanaian artist Joseph “Paa Joe” Ashong, however, his art is dedicated to the individual passion of his client and is typically seen by the world for only a short time.

Paa Joe stands with a fantasy coffin shaped like a lion. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Wigley, director of “Paa Joe and the Lion”

Paa Joe is a master craftsman who creates fantasy coffins, part of Ghana’s tradition of abebuu adekai, which started in the 1950s with artists creating custom coffins for priests and chiefs. These functional coffins are most often in the shape of animals but can be nearly anything the client dreams. Paa Joe and his team have made coffins as varied as lions, shoes and a baby grand piano. As one of the most well-known fantasy coffin makers, Paa Joe has had his work displayed in and commissioned from locations around the world.

Next week, Paa Joe, his son and a former apprentice will bring their expertise and the intricacies of this Ghanaian tradition to the campuses of IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington. Paa Joe will work with students and faculty at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI during a nine-day workshop that will highlight Ghana’s traditions and the artistry involved in the making of fantasy coffins. In Bloomington, Paa Joe will be honored at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, which currently has an exhibit of fantasy coffins, and participate in a discussion and screening of a film documenting his work at IU Cinema.

“Paa Joe is an internationally respected artist and recognized leader in his field within Ghana,” said Greg Hull, professor and interim chair of fine arts at the Herron School of Art and Design. “It’s an honor to be able to host him on our campus thanks to a grant from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. It is our hope that through his visit and workshops, everyone will gain insight into a uniquely different creative process and world culture.”

In addition to this work with students at Herron, Paa Joe will host several fantasy coffin work sessions that are open to the public at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center as well as a public talk at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 in Eskenazi Hall’s Basile Auditorium. Before leaving IUPUI, Paa Joe will lead and orchestrate a live performance demonstrating the Ghanaian funeral ceremony and celebration of life from 5 to 6 p.m. Sept. 14. The performance is open to the public, and attendees are invited to participate in the event.

Following his time at IUPUI, Paa Joe and his team will travel to IU Bloomington to view and discuss an exhibit on the Ghanaian tradition of fantasy coffins at IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The exhibit, “Shapes of the Ancestors: Bodies, Animals, Art and Ghanaian Fantasy Coffins,” is part of the Bloomington campus’s Themester and was curated by Kristin Otto, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology.

Otto, who studies African art, was a research associate at the Mathers Museum in August 2017 when the museum received a one-of-a-kind donation of an airplane-shaped fantasy coffin. Given her background and research interests, Otto was asked to research and curate an exhibit on this unique Ghanaian tradition. She spent two weeks in Ghana visiting Paa Joe’s workshop, learning about the process and interviewing the people who work there.

“I was really, really lucky to be able to do this research,” Otto said. “I was able to get a sense of the artists, their technical skills and artistry. I got to see them work on a series of ocean-themed coffins as well as an ear-of-corn-shaped coffin that was to be used for a funeral.”

The exhibit features four full-size coffins: the airplane, a pink fish on loan from IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art, a hen on loan from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and a Nike shoe also on loan from the Children’s Museum. In addition, visitors can view five mini/collectible coffins: a rooster, lion, eagle, beer bottle and Coca-Cola bottle.

The exhibit also focuses on Otto’s research in Ghana, including how the fantasy coffins are made, the process and the people behind the work. Visitors to the exhibit will also find information on the cultural uses of these coffins both within Ghana and around the world.

“These craftsmen just have an intuitive sense of the material and shape; they don’t draw or sketch anything,” Otto said. “They’re really skilled at this, and it’s an incredible honor for Paa Joe to come here.”

Otto’s exhibit is on display at the Mathers Museum through Dec. 16, and a reception honoring Paa Joe will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the museum. Otto will also moderate a discussion with Paa Joe following the screening of the film “Paa Joe and the Lion” at IU Cinema. The documentary follows Paa Joe and his son, Jacob, on their journey to re-establish their workshop. Tickets to the 4 p.m. screening Sept. 16 are free and available through IU Cinema.

“This project is an intentional effort to broaden international programming on our campuses and continue strengthening Herron’s connection with the larger university,” Hull said. “For our students, having access to engage and work with professional artists provides insight that can’t be simulated in the classroom and shows them that there are many diverse paths that can be taken in pursuit of their own professional practice.”

Read the original article from IU News

 

The Entanglements Series: Sound, Art, and Ecology

What do we mean when we say that we’re listening? What is it that we hear? How do sounds help us articulate our emotions and shape our understanding?

In a world of rapid environmental transformation, how have our soundscapes changed? What is it that we’re not hearing? What does this mean for our futures?

Join us for lunch (it’s free!), a performance by Mary Lattimore, and a discussion with a panel of experts who focus on the intersections of sound, art, ecology, and culture.

Panelists

Alisha Lola Jones
Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
Indiana University Bloomington

Dr. Jones teaches ethnomusicology in IU Bloomington’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology within the College of Arts and Sciences. Jones specializes in the study of music and religion in the African diaspora, and teaches courses such as “Music & Mysticism” and “Popular Music in African American Music Performance.”

Gustavo Valdivia
PhD Candidate
Johns Hopkins University

Gustavo Valdivia specializes in ethnographic research in Andean indigenous communities in Peru. His work blends environmental anthropology and social theory with the tools of modern environmental science. He seeks to produce a horizontal and democratic dialogue that articulates the voices of indigenous peasants whose lives and lands are marked by the recent trends of global change.

Moderator:
Enrique Ramirez
Curatorial Advisor to Exhibit Columbus

Dr. Ramirez is a scholar of modern and contemporary architectural history and is Curatorial Advisor to Exhibit Columbus. He has lectured widely and his work has appeared in diverse publications like Harvard Design Magazine, Metropolis, The Journal of Architecture, and Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal. His work has been recognized and supported by various organizations, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts.

Performance

Mary Lattimore is an American classically trained harpist based in Los Angeles, California. In addition to her solo work and collaborations with fellow Philadelphia musician Jeff Zeigler, she has also performed with multiple prominent indie musicians, including Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile, and Steve Gunn. Her newest album is “Hundreds of Days.” You can hear a sample and read a review at Pitchfork: https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/mary-lattimore-hundreds-of-days/

About the Entanglements Series

The “Entanglements Series” is a program designed by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. Events brings together scientists or social scientists with humanists and artists to discuss a “big question” that transcends disciplines. These big questions are often topics that philosophers have debated for thousands of years — for example, “what makes us human?” — but they might be questions that are of immediate pressing concern such as “how do we stop the next plague?”
Funding for the Entanglements Series is generously provided by an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant. This program is offered in collaboration with the “Metaphonics: A Sonic Journey through Stuart Hyatt’s Field Works,” which will take place in the evening. You can get tickets for Metaphonics at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/metaphonics-a-sonic-journey-through-stuart-hyatts-field-works-tickets-48700574730

Eventbrite - The Entanglements Series: Sound, Art, and Ecology (free lunch included)

Arts Provide Perfect Lens to Discuss Race and Immigration

Dress rehearsal for “West Side Story.” Photo by Julian Morris.

IU Jacobs School of Music voice professor Marietta Simpson, who is chair of the school’s diversity committee, answered a few questions posed by Inside IU Bloomington ahead of this weekend’s opening production of “West Side Story” at the Musical Arts Center.

Read the original article by Bethany Nolan from News at IU.

The Jacobs School of Music has scheduled a variety of public events surrounding the show, including several panel discussions focused on race relations and immigration reform, one of which Simpson will be a part of.

Q: Discuss the Jacobs School of Music’s choice to present “West Side Story” with accompanying discussions on immigration and community, as viewed through the lens of your role on the school’s diversity committee.

A: The Jacobs School of Music’s Opera and Ballet Committee makes the decisions about the opera repertoire several years in advance of each season. There are many factors that influence these decisions, but, as this year is the Bernstein Centennial, “West Side Story” was a logical selection.

Although this work was written many years ago, the societal issues confronted in the musical are completely relevant to the current national dialogue. Leonard Bernstein’s modernization of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” confronts issues of race, immigration, gang culture and, of course, love. Presenting “West Side Story” offers Jacobs the opportunity to create living music of the highest levels of artistic excellence that is relevant to the community we live in.

Stuart Yoak — who I was introduced to through my amazing colleague Constance Cook Glen, who chairs our Music in General Studies Program — has put together this series of events for this production of “West Side Story.” I attended the events he coordinated for our production of “Dead Man Walking” a few years ago.

I’m thrilled that he has decided to coordinate events for this production of “West Side Story.” It will be a wonderful musical and visual experience. Beyond the beautiful music and the wonderful choreography, is a story of humanity and our struggle to find love and acceptance in the midst of rage, race, misunderstanding, assimilation, violence, prejudice, patriotism, and life. I’m thrilled that we get to discuss these issues and hope that we bring greater understanding through these conversations.

Q: Discuss how prescient the social justice issues highlighted in the production are for today’s society, and why the arts are a good way to open discussions on these types of issues.

A: If I were to make a list of character traits one finds within the arts community, it would include diplomacy, empathy, sharing, listening, imagination, creativity, equality and responsiveness.

What better place to have conversations that stir deep passions and often leave people with an ability to hear each other than through the arts. The arts — which necessitate intense listening, feeling another’s breath and pain, anticipating another’s needs, seeing the world through some else’s perspective, and respecting the foundational experiences on which those perspectives are formed — are in fact the perfect forum for such discourse. Through the arts we can create safe places for those conversations.

Q: Discuss your role in one of the panel talks alongside colleagues across the university, and why this type of event is important to have on today’s college campuses.

A: I am honored to be one of the panelists sharing in the discussion with my colleagues. College campuses should be places where people of disparate schools of thought, cultural backgrounds and disciplines can join in conversations of consequence that have the ability to move our society toward justice, change and greater understanding. The college campus has long been and should remain at the forefront of these conversations.

Visit the box office website for tickets and more information.

Masterclass: Ian Chang + Rafiq Bhatia (of Son Lux)

We are excited to welcome guest artists Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus. Drummer Ian Chang and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia are classically trained musicians and composers that make up two thirds of the popular rock trio Son Lux. The pair works heavily with music technology in their own compositions and within the group and will present a free performance masterclass at the IUPUI Campus Center’s Klipsch Theatre (lower level) at 1:00pm on Thursday, April 12. They will discuss their performance techniques and the integration of music technology into their work.

This event is made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute.

Drummer Ian Chang makes electronic music that is humanistic. In a metronomic genre, Chang takes a fresh approach that is rooted in physicality. Using drums to control and manipulate samples, he is able to realize complete musical ideas with unaccompanied and unedited performance. The result is a seamless marriage of raw performative intensity and sophisticated sound design. Find him on YouTube.

Rafiq Bhatia’s music reconciles meticulous sound art with mercurial improvisation to deliver searing emotional intensity. The composer-guitarist’s first two albums – Strata and Yes It Will – have been described by the New York Times as “transcending real sound in real time with the unexpected,” and by the Washington Post as “approximat[ing] life in the information age …profuse, immersive and immense.” Visit his website.

Feel free to RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Lotus Blossoms Performances Coming to Eskenazi Hospital

Kardemimmit

A series of performances will be held in the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Concourse at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

In the first of these, the women of Kardemimmit will sing and play the Finnish national instrument – the kantele, which is similar to a zither or dulcimer. The quartet has mastered both the 15-stringed and 38-stringed kantele, producing the distinctive sounds made by the plucked acoustic instrument that blends with delicate, tight vocal harmonies in a style of singing known as “reki.” The standout contemporary Nordic ensemble – composed of Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius, and Leeni Wegelius – writes music for their voices and instruments, a new folk music rooted in Finnish tradition. Lotus fan tip: Listening to Kardemimmit on disk or in video is one thing; their powerful live performance is simply remarkable.

In the second, Dance of Hope will captivate you with its rhythms, sounds, and exhilaratingly colorful choreography. Created to restore dignity and self-confidence to Ugandan children by teaching life skills, music, and the arts, the group of children, aged 7 to 16 years old, delivers a rich cultural experience. Performances explore the transformational power of music and dance to raise awareness and improve the way of life for the many children who have been orphaned, displaced, or live in poverty. This vibrant music and dance spectacular features a cast of young performers, whose triumphant and inspiring stories showcase their resilience, creativity, and persistence. Dance of Hope’s artistic director and producer, Kinobe, performed at the 2009 & 2010 Lotus World Music & Arts Festivals, as well as Lotus Blossoms in 2015.

The third performance features a brother-and-sister duo from Nashville, Tennessee, Giri & Uma Peters, who are award-winning multi-instrumentalists who astonish audiences with their refreshing, soulful blend of old-time, roots, and bluegrass music. Giri and Uma may be young (13 and 10 years old, respectively), but their musicianship and vocal harmonies showcase a creativity and originality beyond their years. Their musicianship has attracted the attention of roots music star Rhiannon Giddens and banjo greats Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, among others. Lotus audiences know great Americana roots music when they hear it – and the Peters won’t disappoint.

These events are free and open to the public. Parking is available on the Eskenazi Health campus in the Eskenazi Health Parking Garage, which is accessible from Eskenazi Avenue.

Giri and Uma Peters are brought to Lotus Blossoms in collaboration with the IU Arts and Humanities Council/India Remixed Festival.

This series is made possible in part from the generous support of the Eskenazi Health Foundation and the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation.

Square Peg Round Hole Coming to IUPUI

We are excited to welcome guest artists Square Peg Round Hole to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus next week. The IU Bloomington-trained instrumental rock trio will present a performance lecture on campus Friday, March 2. They will be discussing the integration of multimedia technology into their percussion-driven music as well as tips for young musicians hoping to build a career. Click here for more details.

In addition, the group will cap off their stay in Indy with a performance at Pioneer on March 3 supported by IUPUI’s own Big Robot. Click here for more information.

These events are made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Square Peg Round Hole formed in 2011 while studying music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in Bloomington, Indiana. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live. Find them on YouTube or their website for more information.

Entanglements Series: Humanity at the Crossroads

The Crossroads Project brings the power of performance art to bear one of the great conversations of our time — humanity’s growing unsustainability and the possibility for a truly meaningful response. Comprising two original performance works ― grounded in science and elevated by art ― the project offers audiences an evocative and shared space from which to contemplate the choices before us and the pathways they create.

This multimedia performance fuses spoken word, live music, painting, and photography to reflect upon some of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. After the performance, the Crossroads Project team participate in a conversation with the audience. The performance will take place at the Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis, on Wednesday, April 12 at 7pm. Free tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Funding for this presentation of The Crossroads Project is provided by an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant.

 

Death of the Mechanical Man premiers in City Market Catacombs

dotmm-with-eventbriteOn October 25, 2016, at 7 pm, the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute presents the premier of the new audio-visual sci-fi experience, Death of the Mechanical Man. Developed by Big Robot, this work brings together silent film, acoustic instruments, and computer interactivity to create a multi-dimensional performance of sound and space in the heart of the brick barrel arches and limestone columns of Indianapolis’ City Market Catacombs.

This event is supported by our partners at Sun King Brewing. Additional support provided by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology and the Donal Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center.

The City Market Catacombs are an undeveloped historic asset and are not handicapped accessible. The Catacombs feature a very rough, uneven dirt floor. This event is not navigable for guests with walkers, canes, strollers, or wheelchairs. We recommend closed-toed shoes. Alert to people with breathing sensitivities: The Catacombs are a musty, sometimes damp area. Guests assume all personal liability for entering the catacombs for this free, public event.

IUPUI welcomes Indy Jazz Fest, Wes Montgomery Tribute Day

indy-jazz-festCampus and community collide when Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis hosts Wes Montgomery Tribute Day, the marquee event of Indy Jazz Fest, from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, September 17th at the IUPUI Campus Center.

IUPUI has partnered with Indy Jazz Fest to celebrate Indianapolis’ music history and pay tribute to the greatest jazz guitarist produced by the city. A Grammy Award winner in 1966, the late Wes Montgomery was a self-taught musician who revolutionized the sound of jazz by strumming his guitar strings with his thumb rather than using a pick.

Montgomery made a name for himself playing in the clubs of Indiana Avenue. On Saturday, IUPUI will bring his sound, and that of many others, to the Campus Center.

More than 40 local and national bands will perform. Among those scheduled to appear are the IUPUI Jazz Ensemble and other acts from Indianapolis colleges and high schools. National headliners include Pat Martino, Chuck Loeb, Henry Johnson, Russell Malone, Bobby Broom, Fareed Haque, Dave Stryker, Will Matthews, Royce Campbell and Peter Bernstein.

The majority of the performances are free to the public. Tickets for main-stage acts are $25 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased online.

In addition to the school’s jazz ensemble, IUPUI students will be involved in Wes Montgomery Tribute Day by performing behind the scenes. The Department of Music and Arts Technology will assist with the live audio aspects of the performances. Students employed at the Campus Center, many of whom are already well-versed in event management, will continue to put practice to action through their work with the community partners.

“It’s a great learning experience for the students,” said Doug Bielmeier, assistant professor in the Department of Music and Arts Technology, who also described the importance of being involved in a live event to boost students’ employability in the future. “It’s real.”

Those attending Wes Montgomery Tribute Day will find more than just music. An exhibit by Mark Sheldon Photography is also scheduled, highlighting the history of jazz in Indianapolis. Artifacts showcasing Montgomery’s life will be on display. Free panel discussions featuring Zev Feldman of Resonance Records and Robert Montgomery, Wes’ son, are slated as well.

David Williams will be signing his book, “The Masters, Legends and Legacy of Indiana Avenue.” Copies of the book are available at Barnes & Noble @ IUPUI, which will remain open until 8 p.m. on Saturday.

 

ABOUT INDY JAZZ FEST: The mission of Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and Indy Jazz Fest is to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis through education and performance. A celebration of community and culture that showcases jazz music in a variety of great venues across the city, Indy Jazz Fest has become a cultural icon since its start in 1999. With an increased emphasis on jazz education, Indy Jazz Fest has expanded from just one day to an entire experience, ultimately benefiting the Indianapolis arts community throughout the year by creating meaningful links between jazz education and the city’s jazz performance scene. Indy Jazz Fest is the preeminent performance event of Indianapolis Jazz Foundation and will ultimately reach upwards of 34,000 people through a combination of performances, workshops, school concerts, master classes, and community partnerships, as an integral cog in the Indianapolis arts scene. The 2016 Indy Jazz Fest is taking place Sept. 15-24, 2016.  For more information, visit the Indy Jazz Fest website.

 

To view the original post from the IUPUI Newsroom, click here.

Indiana Repertory Theatre Presents The Three Musketeers

three-musketeers-web-friendlyAdapted by Catherine Bush from Alexandre Dumas’s novel, The Three Musketeers tells the story of an eager young lad from the French provinces who arrives in Paris to join the king’s guard. This legendary tale of danger and daring, royalty and romance vibrantly comes to life on the IRT stage.

The performance will take place at 7:00pm on October 12th, 2016, at the Indiana Repertory Theatre.

Dr. Jason M. Kelly, Director of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, will offer a post-performance discussion focused on the historical people and events presented in the novel and the play.

This event is co-sponsored by the IRT and IAHI. Tickets to The Three Musketeers can be purchased directly through the IRT Box Office at 317.635.5252 or online.