Paper is increasingly being replaced by screens, but it has been the material of conveying knowledge for millennia. As a motto written on manuscripts in an Indian archive dictates, a book should “be adorned like a dear son…safeguarded like a good plot of land…purified daily like one’s own body…and looked upon…like a good friend; it should be tied fast like a culprit sentenced to death and should always be remembered like the name of God.” The book is the material recording and dictating society, to be tended to and penalized, revered and conversant, but it is also vulnerable. Only if the book is preserved and protected will it escape from a “state of deterioration.” For the weakness of paper is in its fibers: delicious to insects, fading in sunlight, easy to tear, dampen, and decay.
In this exhibition, curated by Holly Shaffer, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and her students in Art History class 17.14, Art and Industry in South Asia, 1800 to the Present, and drawn from materials in Baker-Berry Library and Rauner Special Collections Library, we examine the history of paper in South Asia (including present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) through the materials that chronicle it in four cases. First as a product in the case titled “Paper Made,” then as a vehicle for 19th-century British colonial bureaucracy in “Paper Empire.” Third, as a “Paper Revolt,” a 20th-century method of disseminating an anti-colonial, nationalist movement for independence, and finally in the contemporary artist Dayanita Singh’s photographs of archives. Here, “Post Paper,” bundles, stacks, files, and folders seem to wait patiently for a reader, slowly turning to dust. Paper not only creates and disperses history, but also becomes the source for its own documentation and demise.
Exhibit curated by Holly Shaffer, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities - South Asian & British Art, and her students in ARTH 17.14, Art and Industry: The Visual and Material Culture of South Asia, 1800 to Present:
Zachary Cherian ’20, Perri Haser ’17, Saleha Irfan ’19, Marina Massidda ’17, India Perdue ’19, Anneliese Thomas ’19, Emma Woodberry ’19, Haley Woodberry ’17
Sponsored by the Art History Department, Baker-Berry Library, the Leslie Center for the Humanities, and Rauner Special Collections Library.
Exhibit design by Dennis Grady, Library Education & Outreach.
Materials support by Deborah Howe, Collections Conservator and Lizzie Curran, Assistant Conservator.
Baker-Berry Library, Berry Main Street: November 1, 2016 - January 27, 2017
The Printer in Residence Program at University of Otago Library’s Otakou Press in Dunedin, New Zealand was initiated in 2003 to encourage awareness of the Press’ printmaking facilities and to foster book-making within both the University and the broader arts community. Each visiting printer uses the University Library’s printing presses to produce a limited edition publication. Sarah Smith, Dartmouth College Book Arts Workshop Program Manager, was this year’s Printer in Residence.
Dartmouth and the University of Otago are both members of the Matariki Network of Universities, an international group of seven universities from seven different countries that have long-excelled in research-led education. The five other Matariki members are: Durham University, England; Queen’s University, Canada; University of Tubingen, Germany; University of Western Australia; and Uppsala University, Sweden.
This year the Otakou Press added a new element to the residency program—an exhibit exchange. An exhibit featuring Dartmouth Book Arts Workshop was displayed in the University of Otago’s Library during Sarah’s residency, and upon her return Sarah facilitated the installation of this exhibit featuring the work of the Otakou Press’ past and present Printers in Residence.
Printing Down Under: A Matariki Exchange was curated by Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Otago Library; Dennis Grady, Dartmouth Library Education & Outreach; and Sarah Smith, Book Arts Workshop Program Manager. Exhibit design by Dennis Grady.
Baker-Berry Library, Baker Main Hall: October 1 - December 31, 2016
Last Updated: 11/3/16