SPRINGFIELD , Ohio – As Wittenberg University hosts a display of Mongolian art, students are equipped with another resource that brings learning to life.
The exhibit on display in Thomas Library is a result of efforts by Marcia Frost, assistant professor of economics and East Asian Studies, and is funded by a grant from the Freeman Foundation. The exhibit, which can be seen throughout Thomas Library, from the Research Help Center on the second floor to the A/B stacks and the bridge on the third floor, will be on display throughout the 2005 fall semester.
A special event will take place at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, as Christopher Atwood, associate professor of central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University presents a lecture and tour of the exhibit. Atwood is a well-known scholar in Central Asian studies who has published many works about Mongolia, including the Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire (2004). The tour and lecture will be followed by a reception in the lobby of Thomas Library.
Frost’s efforts to bring the artwork to Wittenberg were intended primarily to enhance and create visual aids for her WittSems course, “From Steppes of Chinggis Khan,” which introduces first-year students to Mongolia from the era of the Mongolian Empire to contemporary times. The artwork creates an exciting learning opportunity for students, who are able to view artistic interpretations of Mongolia as part of the class.
WittSems, short for Wittenberg Seminars, are small topical courses designed by instructors to introduce the core matters of academic inquiry at Wittenberg.
The exhibit consists of contemporary Mongolian art, containing 19 works by nine different artists. Until the late 1980s, the communist government restricted modern and abstract art in Mongolia, but more recently art in Mongolia has expressed new themes using new mediums.
The eclectic mix of art found in the collection includes everything from modern, abstract art to classical pictures of landscapes and scenery in Mongolia. Frost said that the diverse array of art on display in Thomas Library reflects many aspects of Mongolian culture and paints a picture of Mongolian life and history from these artists’ perspectives.
Committed to increasing, strengthening and popularizing the teaching of Asia in college and university classrooms, the Freeman Foundation awarded Wittenberg’s East Asian Studies program a $1.9 million grant in January 2002 to ensure that all Wittenberg students, regardless of their course of study, have an encounter with Asia as part of their undergraduate experience.
The Mongolian artwork was previously on display at Indiana University as a part of a Mongolian festival held there last year. Its display across colleges and universities is sponsored by the Mongolia Society, a professional organization of scholars across all disciplines in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.
- Leslie Banas '06