RISD Museum probes how ancient cultures regarded nature
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The RISD Museum is hosting Being and Believing in the Natural World: Perspectives from the Ancient Mediterranean, Asia, and Indigenous North America in its Metcalf Galleries through May 7, 2023. Highlighting different perspectives across cultures and time, the artworks in this exhibition consider complex and evolving relationships with, and beliefs about, nature. In more than 100 objects drawn from the RISD Museum’s collections, makers from 2000 B.C. to the present day explore human relationships with the natural world. Their responses span a wide range of media and processes to express awe and reverence for nature’s abundance, beauty, and powers of destruction; to intercede with the divine; and to document the willful extraction of resources. Many of these objects have never been on view before.
The show is curated by Gina Borromeo, curator of ancient art; Shandiin Brown, Henry Luce Curatorial Fellow for Native American Art; and Wai Yee Chiong, associate curator of Asian art.
Curator Gina Borromeo said, “As nature carries different meanings for each of us today, it held wide-ranging significance to people throughout time and in different areas of the world. This exhibition allowed us, co-curators working in different fields, to tease out the ways that objects reveal how people engaged with the natural world through the objects they created and the materials they used for those objects. We hope that the exhibition successfully conveys the diversity and variation of human interactions with nature.”
“This exhibition has been, for me, an enriching learning experience,” Wai Yee Chiong said. “To have the privilege of working with talented individuals, each providing insightful, creative and varied perspectives of the natural world, has been the most rewarding takeaway for me.”
Adds Shandiin Brown, “The works in this exhibition provide diverse views of the natural world. Through exploration of others’ perspectives, we are invited to further reflect on our own relationships with nature.”
Visit the website of the RISD Museum and see its dedicated page for Being and Believing in the Natural World: Perspectives from the Ancient Mediterranean, Asia, and Indigenous North America.