Give Now  »

BloomingtonKatmandu: From Cornfields To Ricefields

OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat


An international art exhibition opening Saturday, May 28 promises to refute Rudyard Kipling's famous claim.

Created and curated by Filiz Cicek, BloomingtonKatmandu will explore the concept of home in the 21st century. Showcasing the work of artists, musicians and poets from around the world as well as Bloomington, the exhibition is being staged at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.

Cicek, an American artist and scholar whose native land is the border region between Turkey and Russian Georgia, was inspired to organize the event by the Dalai Lama's visit to Bloomington last spring. "His vision is to turn the center into a hub of activities that will attract everyone-not just religious people, but people from all backgrounds-especially artists."

A Home For The Arts

Founded in 1979 by Thubten Norbu, the Dalai Lama's brother, the Center's connection to a religion and government in exile makes it the ideal site for a group of artworks dedicated to supporting the concept that home is a portable feeling. Home, for these artists, "is a state of mind," Cicek explains, "it's not a place. It transcends space; it transcends geographical locations."

Cicek studied European migrant cinema-movies made by Turks living in Germany, and Moroccans in France-to learn how transnational artists reconstitute the feeling of home. "You create a third space," she explains, "so home is this mobile abstract place that you exist in: neither your native place you left behind, nor the place that you are living in."

Roots And Rootlessness

One of the artists included in BloomingtonKatmandu explores this metaphysical definition of home in her paintings. A Bosnian Serb forced to flee her homeland, Svetlana Rakic, who teaches at Franklin College, explores her sense of rootlessness using the iconography of trees, in part because, as Cicek notes, "Trees can grow anywhere."

In addition to the many international artists BloomingtonKatmandu will showcase, Bloomington artists Dale Enochs, David Ebbinghouse, Osamu James Nakagawa, Amy Brier, and Shu-Mei Chan, among others, will be represented.

BloomingtonKatmandu opens with a reception at the Tibetan Cultural Center Saturday, May 28 from 5 to 8 pm. Musical performances will be staged at various sites around the grounds by Sitaar Outreach Group, Baraka Kirtan, Salaam, Kati Gleiser , Denis Powell, Jr., Ken McGee, and Sarah Flint. Opening night festivities also include poetry readings by Patricia Coleman and Ross Gay. The visual artworks will remain on view at the facility each day through June 21.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From