Artist Alfredo Jaar to Speak at Asbury

WILMORE, Ky. — Asbury University will host Alfredo Jaar, a Chilean-born architect, artist and filmmaker, in its next Artist Series event at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Hughes Auditorium. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Jaar’s work includes large-scale installations such as La Geometria de la Consciencia (The Geometry of Conscience), a memorial to the victims of the Pinochet regime at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile. He often explores social and political issues such as war and power through creative manipulations of light and space.

“He has a way of inspiring us to take responsibility and become a little more aware,” said Josh Smith, assistant professor of Art at Asbury.

Jaar’s work has been exhibited around the world in locations such as Venice, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Johannesburg and Seville. He has had individual exhibitions in New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Musee des Beaux Arts in Switzerland and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. Local fans don’t have to board a plane to see his work, however; a permanent piece called “Park of the Laments” is part of the 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, less than four hours’ drive from Asbury.

Smith first experienced Jaar’s art more than 15 years ago at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Jaar was showing a project called “Geography = War” that called attention to the issue of toxic waste dumping in Nigeria by illuminating photos of people impacted by the toxic waste exposure inside barrels of liquid.

“I was first drawn by the aesthetics,” Smith said. “The weight of the barrels and the light-boxed photos were a way I’d never seen photography displayed before. Walking around the barrels and looking into the water to see the faces of the people affected made me want to know more.

“As Christians, we should be hyper-aware of how our actions affect those around us,” Smith continued. “For example, the process and people involved in getting gas from the ground to our cars is part of our responsibility, and the same goes for where our clothes are made and how our food is grown or processed. I’m sure Mr. Jaar will inspire us to think about how our actions affect people the world over.”

A reception will be held in the Student Center after the lecture.

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