The Lenfest Center for the Arts
Artist's Talk and Reception: Joy Lynn Davis "Remembering the Lost: Community Response to the Theft of Nepal's Sacred Sculptures"
Artist's Talk and Reception: Joy Lynn Davis
Friday, March 3, 2017
Reception: 4:00 p.m.
Lecture: 5:30 p.m.
Wilson Hall/Concert Hall and Lykes Atrium
No tickets are required.
In this project, artist and researcher Joy Lynn Davis documents community response to the theft of sacred stone sculptures from the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal through paintings, photographs, interviews, and research. While Nepal's sacred sculptures are now admired as works of art in museums and private collections around the world, Nepal's communities mourn the losses of them as living gods. Davis recontextualizes the stolen sculptures by painting them returned to Kathmandu's temples and shrines. Stolen sculptures are painted in 23-karat gold making them easily identifiable and referencing the commodification of the sacred. Didactic panels accompany each painting, featuring historical images of the sculptures, current photographs of the sites, excerpts of interviews with local devotees and temple caretakers, and information about the sculptures, thefts, and any replicas. The exhibit explores the ethics of the art trade and provides an example of the ongoing problem of illicit-trafficking of cultural property worldwide. An accompanying website (rememberingthelost.com) features a map and database of all known thefts. Davis is the founder of Himalayan Art and Cultural Project (501c3 nonprofit). She divides her time between California and Nepal, and has been an artist in residence at Kathmandu Contemporary Arts Centre and Santa Fe Art Institute.