The holiday season is wrapping up and 2019 is coming to a close. As you prepare for the new year, here is how some of our staff enjoyed the winter break!
“What’s going on inside the fancy building on the left of Janss Steps?” This question may have come into many Bruins’ minds for several seconds whenever they happen to pass by.
While you may have proudly told your family and friends that UCLA has a museum right on campus, do you know what it is about?
Photo from the Fowler Museum Website
“The Fowler Museum at UCLA” was first established in 1963 as the Museum and Laboratories of Ethnic Arts and Technology, featuring the various collections of non-Western art and artifacts on campus, initiating research projects, fieldworks, and exhibitions on the “otherness”– the ethnic changes of foreign cultural group, not necessarily using an art-historical methodology.
In 1971, its name was changed to the Museum of Cultural History and four years later, its collections on art and material culture from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, as well as the Americas, ranked it Top Four university museums in the country. The current $22-million structure was constructed under the proposal of museum director Christopher Donnan, also Professor Emeritus in the Anthropology department to fully promote visible exhibitions instead of hoarding dusty artifacts underground. Previously located in the basement of Haines Hall, the museum has consistently struggled to re-imagine its own identity in its colonial collection.
Since 2006, the name of the Museum has been officially changed to the Fowler Museum at UCLA, in recognition of the support from the Fowler Foundation and the family of collector and inventor Francis E. Fowler Jr, with its core to emphasize global arts and cultures and make them visible to not only western museum-goers, but more importantly, the indigenous people. The Fowler is not a mere institution which simply collects and hides its objects behind for “safety reasons”, it is part of the UCLA community to actively reflect on the history, re-narrativize the stories behind the colonial collections and call for respect for it.
From September 8, 2019, to March 8, 2020, On Display in the Walled City: Nigeria at the British Empire Exhibition 1924-1925 is on view in the Fowler in Focus Section. By inviting viewers into the well-lighted but relatively small area, this exhibition means to position viewers in a similar place to where the Nigerian artists once were nighty-four years ago in the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, England: An exhibition almost as a human zoo where artists’private spaces had consistently been invaded by reporters and curious “high-status visitors”. All the resignation they had, the injustice they faced, the discrimination they suffered from were condensed into a strikingly enlarged black and white group photo right at the entrance.
Photo by Teresa Xu
In the exhibition, visitors will find many bronze helmets, ivory carvings on display are actually replicas of replicas which were not made of their original materials. This selection poignantly reveals the severe looting that happened in the colonial periods which makes it impossible to trace where the real pieces are right now. The causes of how and why the punitive expedition full of deprivation and exploitation happened can be found on the wall texts provided by the curator. With the comfy seats provided inside, viewers have abundant time to read and think about what has happened in the British Empire Exhibition.
Because we care so we choose to display the problematic history truthfully. The exhibition at the Fowler Museums will always leave viewers new thoughts and insights: none of them should feel guilty or sad about the past. Next time, when you pass the Fowler Museum again, remember to check it out, to feel the positivism that the world will become better.
With the beginning of December comes the autumn rain. Students can be seen bundled up and scurrying about to escape the weather. Here is what a typical rainy day on campus is like.
In honor of UCLA vs USC week, here are what some UCLA students had to say about being a part of the Bruin community!
When I came to UCLA I never would have anticipated that I would be going over to a stranger’s house with several other students for dinner. But let me tell you, participating in Dinner for 12 Strangers has become one of my favorite memories at UCLA! I know what you’re thinking… “Isn’t it awkward?” And the answer to that is no, not really. It was really funny because at the dinner me and the other students at the table were talking about how we heard about Dinner for 12 Strangers and our thoughts on going into it and all of us admitted to a fear of it being awkward. But really, let me tell you it wasn’t bad at all! If anything the experience left me feeling refreshed. It was nice getting to meet people that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t signed up for the dinner. The conversations were also super interesting. I’m an English major and so I usually never meet any south campus majors so it was just nice to meet some biology and mathematics majors! One of the professors who attended the dinner spoke about her research and recent discoveries.
The dinner was filled with lots of food and lots of laughs. After we all finished eating dinner we moved on over to the living room and played guessing games where we all had to write either a phrase or object on a piece of paper while the person who chose the card would have to either act out or explain what’s on the card while everyone else tried to guess what was on the card. After that, we all went around in a circle and spoke about our majors and what we were interested in. This was really nice since during the literal dinner aspect, we all only really spoke to the people that were on our half of the table so it was nice to go around and connect with the people that sat at the opposite end of the table.
The evening was filled with really great vibes! Everyone was so wonderful and outgoing. I 10/10 recommend this experience. If you’re interested but are afraid that it’ll be awkward, don’t be! Everyone that participates in it signed up and wants to be there and meet new people. Another thing is that to participate in a dinner, it isn’t limited to alumni and students in Los Angeles, it’s global.
Unfortunately, for this school year the deadline is passed to sign up for a dinner but this is a UCLA tradition that the UCLA Alumni Association holds every year. Sign-ups open at the beginning of each year so if you’re interested in participating next year and making amazing memories and meeting new people I’d definitely give this a shot!