30 years of Burmese Art, now open until November


This canvas is currently on display at the “Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art” exhibit in the Altgeld Hall until November 18.

By Jesse Baalman

The NIU Art Museum’s “Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art” exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Center for Burma Studies. The display highlights many different iconic pieces of Burmese art as well as Thukhuma Collection paintings that are on loan until November.

Dr. Catherine Raymond,exhibition curator and Director of the Center for Burma Studies, gave a lecture on Thursday to visitors on “The Ten Flowers of Burmese Art.” The lecture gave an in-depth look at the ten fundamental craftsman skills used in Burmese art such as painting and sculpture techniques.

Sophomore illustration major Elizabeth Russo said she resonated with the art. “I appreciate this particular Asian art because it is a part of my culture. My mother comes from a country near Burma so I see similarities and incorporate that into my work,” Russo said.

Peter Olson, NIU Art Museum assistant director, elaborated in detail about his role in the procurement of art at NIU and his twelve-year collaboration with Raymond. Olson said he worked in the museum when they had their first exhibit in the new Altgeld Hall just three weeks after he had received the keys to the building.

“It’s become more efficient for us to work together [and] to look at the pictures of back then versus now; we’ve come a long way,” Olson said of his history working with Raymond.

The work that goes into properly obtaining, planning, and staging these pieces for the exhibit is a lot more specific than one might think. Raymond had a lot to say about the past and the present state of the museum and she said she had big plans about the future. “We need new facilities, a bigger space — I want to enroll more students and get more students studying abroad, ” Raymond said.

Anyone who is interested in experiencing this collection can visit Altgeld Hall’s first-floor galleries through now to Nov. 18 to see “The Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art.”