A Q&A with Author Judith Tankard

The BMA and the Red Mountain Garden Club will welcome renowned author and landscape historian Judith Tankard to Birmingham on April 25 as she offers a visual journey through one of the most iconic eras in garden design. Her talk will highlight the important principles of design in the early 1900s and explore the role […]

A Weather Eye: Dutch Painters Invent Atmosphere

Join us for the the principal lecture of the exhibition Opulence in Disguise: The Netherlands Golden Age, featuring John Walsh, Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Sixteenth Eivor and Alston Callahan Asian Art Lecture

In this special lecture, art historian John Seyller Ph.D, will illuminate the illustrious career of a previously unknown Mughal court painter, Abd al-Karim, who until recently was only known as the Bodleian Painter.

The Chinese Art Market: Status, Trends and Record Setting Prices

In conjunction with our new exhibition, Afterlife: Asian Art from the Weldon Collection, the BMA is proud to have guest speaker Elizabeth Hammer, Senior Specialist Head of Sales at Christie’s Auction House, visit us for a special lecture where she will discuss the art market for traditional Chinese paintings.

Edward M Friend and Hermione Friend Lecture

Gendering Memories of Iraq, a Collective Performance by Hayv Kahraman Join us for a transformative performance orchestrated by Iraqi born artist Hayv Kahraman that will reflect on concepts of diaspora, immigration, and community. As Kahraman states: “My process begins by narrating personal memories that unarguably are specific yet could be part of a collective history. […]

Testing Boundaries: Women Artists in India and Pakistan Today

Women Artists have been a strong force to be reckoned with since the mid-20th century in India and Pakistan. With a sense of independence and purpose, they have been keen observers of the cultural, social and political rifts that have divided their nations. In the installations, video art, and paintings of Arpana Caur, Nalini Malani, […]

Chenoweth Lecture

Gail Andrews reflects on her tenure of 40 years at the BMA. She will
share some of its history and the role she played in helping shape it,
as well as what the future may hold for our institution.

John Morton Lecture in Photography

Leslie Hewitt’s photographs rest in sturdy wooden frames that lean against the wall and invite viewers to experience a unique space between photography and sculpture. Her work combines still life compositions comprised of political, social, and personal materials, which result in multiple histories seen embedded in sculptural, architectural, and abstract forms. Mundane objects and structures open into complex systems of knowledge. This perceptual slippage is what attracts Hewitt to both the illusions of film (still and moving photography) and the undeniable presence of physical objects (sculpture). Exploring this as an artist and not as a historiographer, Hewitt draws parallels between the formal appearance of things and their significance to collective history and political consciousness in contemporary art. In her lecture, Hewitt will discuss the development of her practice and recent collaborations.

Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the Yale University School of Art, and at New York University, where she was a Clark Fellow in the Africana and Visual Culture Studies programs. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the recipient of the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands. A selection of recent and forthcoming exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Artists Space in New York; Project Row Houses in Houston; and LA><ART in Los Angeles. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany amongst others.

Since 2008, the BMA's John Morton Lecture in Photography has presented photographers on the forefront of art and culture. Sponsored by Birmingham philanthropist and collector John Morton, the lecture is always free and open to the public.

Eivor and Alston Callahan Lecture: India’s Post-Partition Identity and the Cinematic Image

In August 1947, the Independence that India and Pakistan claimed was accompanied by a Partition of the Indian subcontinent, a geographic division that brought large-scale ethnic violence and mass migrations. Over a period of many months (and in the case of partitioned Bengal, years), at least fourteen million people—Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims—fled their homes and homelands, crossing over the newly created borders to become refugees. At least one million were killed in ethnically-charged riots and pogroms, and women by the tens of thousands (possibly more) were raped or abducted. This overwhelming tragic saga of religious conflicts, nationalist mobilizations, and plight of refugees came to constitute a critical aspect of politics and social life in independent India and informed popular culture in various ways. Yet, for several decades after, mourning and even memory of the events of 1947 and 1948 was suppressed. The trauma as well as the loss of “what might have been” was consciously and conspicuously ignored in most forms of public culture.

Coincidentally, the the years following Independence and Partition are regarded as the “Golden Age” of Indian cinema, and in these years the self-image of a new nation began to be narrated through film. This talk, given by Cathleen Cummings, Ph.D., will look at cinematic images of the 1950s and early 1960s and consider how Indian identity was being reformulated and articulated in the national cinema. Dr. Cummings will also consider ways in which the cinematic image helped mourn the nation’s collective trauma in indirect ways, and how the twin demands of forgetting and remembrance of Partition were negotiated, drawing from such films as Awara (Raj Kapoor, 1951), Pyaasa (Guru Dutt, 1957), and other classics of the era.

Haitian Vodou Ceremonies, Songs, and Sacred Objects

This lecture will discuss Haitian Vodou ceremonies that are dedicated to spirits, called loa. Songs, drumming, and sacred objects such as flags, rattles, and drums are used in the salutation of the spirits. This presentation includes field photographs, music and audiovisual documentation to help place this great and noble religious tradition in context.
Benjamin Hebblethwaite has a Ph.D. in French Linguistics from Indiana University (2007) and he works as an Associate Professor at the University of Florida. He is the author of Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English (Temple University Press) and Yon sezon matchyavèl/Une saison en enfer (L’Harmattan), with Jacques Pierre. He has published articles on Haitian Creole historical linguistics, language policy in Haiti, Haitian Creole literacy, bilingualism among Haitian Americans in Miami, and comparative religion. He is currently working on the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded “The Archive of Haitian Religion and Culture” (The Vodou Archive) and a book project on Arabic and Islamic influences in contemporary French, German and Dutch cultures.