In celebration of the Chinese New Year that began two weeks ago, a new exhibit on display in the inner lobby of List Art Center showcases a collection of images — meant to ward off evil and bring good luck in the coming year — to herald the Year of the Dragon.
"The Shape of Good Fortune: Welcoming the Year of the Dragon" was spearheaded by students who took HIAA 1040H: "Shape of Good Fortune," taught by Professor of History of Art and Architecture Maggie Bickford last semester. Students learned about the Chinese New Year in the course and were required to oversee all aspects of the exhibition, including extensive research, object selection, writing labels and design.
The exhibit was assembled during winter break just in time for its opening Jan. 23, also the start of the Chinese New Year.
Bickford described her involvement as facilitative. "There was a lot of graphic design talent in the class, which was unusual," she said. "But there was a high standard for the exhibition."
Students used 3-D simulation software to help design the exhibition to scale. Amy Huang GS, the only graduate student in the class, helped with layout of the exhibition and said she was proud to see her work come together.
The students also made a blog to showcase their work.
Bickford said her students were wonderful. "I'm very proud of them. (The exhibition) exceeded my expectations."
Huang explained that the featured images — traditionally hung around the house during the Chinese New Year —were used by both poor farmers and emperors. "Imagery travels through social classes and ages but also gets updated," she said.
Bickford said some of the objects displayed were collected by missionaries in the 20th century and auctioned off, and they are now a part of her personal collection. Other objects are modern reproductions of traditional paintings.
Jeremy Korn '13 researched the scholar Zhong Kui, known as the Demon Queller, during the seminar. Over winter break, a graduate student from Beijing returned to campus with a painting of Zhong Kui made by a family friend. The painting was included in the exhibition.
Each image is accompanied by a student-written panel describing the image's history and significance. Because it is the Year of the Dragon, Anya Eber '12.5 worked on a section that focused on this year's zodiac as well as the exhibit as a whole.
"I realized how many different meanings there are to images," said Huang, who hails from Taiwan.
The opening ceremony, held Feb. 3, was a "crucial point in the exhibition," Eber said. The ceremony included food and a performance from Brown Lion Dance, a student group that performs a traditional Chinese dance in which dancers imitate the motions of a lion.
This project was made possible by support from the Year of China committee and the Department of History of Art and Architecture.
The exhibition will be a stop in the Lantern Festival Gallery Walk, a guided tour of Year of China related exhibits that will take place Feb. 6. It will run through Feb. 16.