UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 07 Winter 17 Library
Summer Curatorial students plan their exhibition using a model of the Kluge-Ruhe galleries, by Lauren Maupin

Songs of a Secret Country and Student Curators

Caitlyn Keeve (right) is interviewed by Brooke Wylie from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
(Photo: Tom Cogill)

Last summer, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at UVA continued its efforts to train the next generation of curators, while addressing the lack of diversity in American museums, with a major exhibition curated by five undergraduate students from backgrounds that are largely under-represented in the curatorial profession. The exhibition, titled Songs of a Secret Country, and part of UVA’s broader Mellon Indigenous Arts Initiative, featured 23 artworks newly donated to Kluge-Ruhe by Stephen and Agatha Luczo. The five students —India Ferguson, Imani Williford, Rosalba Ponce, Jake Martin, and Caitlin Keeve— traveled to Charlottesville from their homes in California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Florida to learn every aspect of designing an exhibition, from writing wall labels down to choosing wall colors. Ferguson, a rising senior from Florida International University who aims to attend a graduate program in curatorial studies, said, “I’m excited to celebrate the work of the Australian Indigenous artists in Charlottesville. It has been a great experience for our student curatorial group to create an exhibition that challenges us to immerse ourselves in different belief systems while reflecting upon our own identities.”  

Imani Williford gives a gallery talk during the opening night of Songs of a Secret Country.
(Photo: Tom Cogill)

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