“All We are Breaking are Stones” opens at the NIU Art Museum


DEKALB – The Northern Illinois University Art Museum opens All We are Breaking are Stones, an exhibition of work by Chicago artist Shaurya Kumar who reflects on loss, destruction, iconoclasm and marginalization. The raw materiality of his installations combined with the representation of architectural forms suggest ruin but are layered with notions of transformation and narrative. This show opens with a public reception on Thursday, April 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that includes an Artist Gallery Talk with Shaurya at 6 p.m.  in the Rotunda Gallery.

His subjects, both local and global, focus on imagery and themes of decay and destruction, especially the remains of buildings. These works offer a glimpse into the fate of relics that have succumbed to harsh natural elements, the passage of time and blows of human neglect. Shaurya ponders, what becomes of these landscapes as new meanings are superimposed over older, original histories and their cultures? Shaurya commented, “I explore the ruins of ancient architecture and territories decimated by urban sprawl, human neglect and even greed. The works reflect on how our past that was once our identity and matter of pride are getting increasingly obviated, mutilated, and sometimes entirely lost.” While each subject reflects its past and story; gentle manipulation transforms these objects—they are assigned new meaning as they are interpreted into new images.

Shaurya’s exhibition draws reference from two sources—an 18th century poem by Meer Taqui Meer titled, “I am A Citizen of that Ruined Place,” that grieves the loss of Mughal culture in India to invaders and Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s 2001 orders to destroy ancient pre-Islamic Bamiyan Buddha statues. Both sources evoke a sense of destruction and loss of culture through conquest, occupation and human intervention. The exhibition runs through May 18 with a series of public lectures, programs, and Get-on-the-Bus excursions related to the show, listed below.

NIU Art Museum offers several programs

DEKALB – The Northern Illinois University Art Museum will offer a series of public lectures, programs and Get-on-the-Bus excursions related to its current exhibit, “All We are Breaking are Stones.”

Wednesday, April 11 – “Religion Made Visible: The Traditional Sacred Art of India,” Lecture with Richard M. Cooler, NIU Emeritus Art History Professor

Thursday, April 19 – “India: The Visual Landscape” screening and discussion with Ola Giza, associate professor, Design and Media, Visual Communications, NIU School of Art and Design; and Shantanu Suman, associate professor, Visual Communications, Ball State University

Wednesday, April 25 – Meet the Patels filmscreening starring Ravi Patel, documentary/comedy, 2014, rated PG

Thursday, April 26 – “Influence and Impact,” Americans who have traveled, worked and studied in India. Artist slide and sound talks by Christine Lofaso, professor and division head, Fine Arts Studio, Fiber; and Bart Woodstrup, associate professor, Design and Media, Time Arts, NIU School of Art and Design.

Saturday, April 28 – Get-On-The-Bus Trip: A Meeting of Two Seas 2.0, South Asian Hindi and Muslim music/dance/poetry at the Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago. Payment and registration due by April 18.

Tuesday, May 1 – The Hundred-Foot Journey filmscreening with spice mixing demonstration starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Drama, 2014, rated PG

Saturday, May 5 – Open for Artigras!, NIU/DeKalb Celebration of the Arts

Saturday, May 19 – Get-On-The-Bus Trip: “Moods of Nayika” multimedia performance, Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, Chicago, Art Museum members only. You may join when you RSVP. Payment and registration due by April 30.

Additional information can be found online by visiting niu.edu/artmuseum/events. Events may be added throughout the exhibition; continue to check for updates and additions. For questions or to register for these Get-on-the-Bus Excursions please call (815) 753-1936.