(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University art professor Yumi Park will give a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, about the exhibition, Mirrors of Clay: Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection, currently on display at the Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery at JSU.
Park will give detailed information about the objects and how they were used in ancient life. The visitors will also have the opportunity to ask questions and get an up-close view of the objects. The event will be the first of three gallery talks during the Mirrors of Clay exhibition.
The exhibition, which will be held through Nov. 15, is a partnership between JSU and the Mississippi Museum of Art. The show features 60 ceramic vessels from ancient Andean American cultures, including the Cupisnique, Chavín, Vicús, Nazca, Moche, Tiwanaku, Lambayeque, and Chimú, which flourished between 1200 BCE and 1550 CE. These distinctive vessels, selected from the collection of Sam Olden, were given to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The pieces reveal each culture’s stylistic aesthetics, religious ideologies and political roles. The Pre-Columbian vessels in the exhibition are mainly from the Andean region of South America, which includes the modern countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Park is the author of the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which was published by the University Press of Mississippi. A scholar of Pre-Columbian and Native American art, Park focuses especially on the Andean civilizations of South America.
“Jackson State University is honored to partner with the Mississippi Museum of Art and the University Press of Mississippi to present this wonderful exhibition, which provides us with a window to the ancient world,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “We are delighted that we can contribute our talents and expertise to such an important project.”
In the exhibition catalogue, Park analyzes technologies, forms and decorative designs to reveal the unique aesthetics, social stratifications, religious ideologies and political roles within each culture. Ancient Andean potters expressed their native individualities by depicting the forms of warriors, deities, architecture, flora, fauna and daily life on their ceramic vessels. The catalogue introduces the important role of ceramics in understanding ancient Andean beliefs about communication with ancestors, cosmic reciprocity and shamanism.
“The ceramics on view are fascinating, rare treasures of ancient life along the Andes Mountains range,” said Beth Batton, who is the Curator of the Collection at the Mississippi Museum of Art. “This exhibition is a must-see for all ages, allowing a unique opportunity to view ceramic vessels, many of them more than 1,200 years old.”
Collector Sam Olden lived in Peru during the 1970s. After visiting various archaeological sites and museums, including the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Peru, he became enamored with the ceramic vessels of the ancient Andes. Olden later settled in Yazoo City, Miss., and began to build an extensive collection of ancient Andean ceramics, eventually making a large donation to the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Sam Olden Collection provides tangible and visible evidence of the social activities, political events and ideological beliefs of ancient Andean cultures.
“The Mississippi Museum of Art is grateful that Sam Olden so lovingly collected these objects and cared for them until he generously gave or loaned them to the Museum for the people of Mississippi to enjoy,” said Betsy Bradley, director of the Mississippi Museum of Art.
About the exhibition catalogue:
Mirrors of Clay
Reflections of Ancient Andean Life in Ceramics from the Sam Olden Collection
By Yumi Park
Photographs by Eric Huntington
Foreword by Beth Batton and Betsy Bradley
Introduction by Sam Olden
Published by University Press of Mississippi
Distributed for Jackson State University
Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Gallery hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 1-8 p.m.
Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
Jackson State University
Dollye M.E. Robinson Liberal Arts Building
1400 John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Miss.