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Depths of History: Provenance and Asian and Islamic Art Collections
Thursday, March 9 • 6pm
presented by The Walters Art Museum

Location: Walters’ Facebook and YouTube

Provenance—the history of an object’s ownership—presents opportunities for research, cultural understanding, and conversations about the role of museums as stewards of a collection. It can also be a complicated and controversial subject, depending on who created the object and its original cultural and religious contexts. This program explores questions around provenance through collections of Asian art owned by tobacco industry heiress Doris Duke and Chicago industrialist Avery Brundage.

Join Dr. Leslee Michelsen, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design in Honolulu, Hawaii; Adriana Proser, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Quincy Scott Curator of Asian Art at the Walters Art Museum; and Natasha Reichle, Curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, in this conversation moderated by Dr. Gina Borromeo, the Walters’ Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs and its Senior Curator of Ancient Art.

The Depths of History is a program series that investigates and interrogates the problematic histories of museums and other institutions. This series reflects the Walters Art Museum’s commitment to making accessible the histories of its origins and the art that it stewards in order to ensure an environment of anti-racism, inclusivity, collaboration, and welcome for visitors, volunteers, and staff. 

This event is virtual and is available exclusively on our Facebook and YouTube pages. 

About the Guest Speakers: 

Dr Leslee Michelsen is the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design in Honolulu. She is an internationally-focused curator dedicated to the accessible amplification of global arts and cultures.

Her recent work includes co-curated exhibitions with contemporary artists Jordan Nassar and Sherin Guirguis as well as the “Silk Web” exhibition of contemporary art of Central Asia, curated for the Dowse Art Museum in New Zealand. Upcoming projects include a multi-sensory, pan-Pacific exhibition on scent in the botanical arts of the Islamic world; and co-curated exhibitions with artists Aya Shalkar, Diana Al Hadid, Lazo Studios, and Wardha Shabbir.

Leslee earned her Ph.D in Islamic art history and archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she consulted for UNESCO Afghanistan on the curatorial content of the Bamiyan Cultural Center, and was the Head of the Curatorial and Research Section at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar (MIA) from 2011-2015.

Natasha Reichle is a curator of Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Her most recent exhibition, Weaving Stories, looked at the role textiles play in the formation of status and identity. The exhibition, Lost at Sea: Art Recovered from Shipwrecks explored issues of maritime archaeology, provenance, and ethics. Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memoriesaddressed the history of the collection of art from the Philippines and centered voices from the Philippine community in labels and videos. Other exhibitions include the first major U.S. exhibition on the arts of Bali, Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance.

At the museum she has been part of the leadership team of DEAI taskforce and the Re-History project, which critically re-examines and re-envisions the museum. She is the author of Violence and Serenity: Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia (University of Hawai’i Press.)  She holds a B.A. in literature from Yale University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California at Berkeley.



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