Upcoming Artist Talk and Roundtable Discussion (RSVP by Feb. 9th) with Photographer Susan Meiselas

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 7:00pm
“Artist Talk with Photographer Susan Meiselas”
 Wexner Center for the Arts
Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 10:15am-12:00pm
“Roundtable Discussion with Photographer Susan Meiselas”
 Thompson Library Room 165
RSVP by February 6 to globalmobility@osu.edu
Event Page
Co-sponsors: Department of Art Living Culture Initiative and Visiting Artist Program, the Global Mobility Project and the Migration Studies Working Group.

OSU Event

Susan Meiselas, born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948, received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in visual education from Harvard University. Her first major photographic essay focused on the lives of women doing striptease at New England country fairs, whom she photographed during three consecutive summers while teaching photography in New York public schools. Carnival Strippers was originally published in 1976 and a selection was installed at the Whitney Museum of Art in June 2000.

Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer since then. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. She published her second monograph, Nicaragua, in 1981. Meiselas served as an editor and contributor to the book El Salvador: The Work of Thirty Photographers and edited Chile from Within featuring work by photographers living under the Pinochet regime. She has co-directed two films, Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family and Pictures from a Revolution with Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti. In 1997, she completed a six-year project curating a hundred-year photographic history of Kurdistan, integrating her own work into the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History and developed akaKurdistan, an online site of exchange for collective memory in 1998.

Her monograph Pandora’s Box  explores a New York S & M club, has been exhibited both at home and abroad. Encounters with the Dani reveals a sixty-year history of outsiders’ discovery and interactions with the Dani, an indigenous people of the highlands of Papua in Indonesia.

Meiselas has had one-woman exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, and her work is included in collections around the world. She has received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art (1985); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994); the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005) and most recently was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal (2011). In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.

OSU Event

Research Update: Transnational Performance

by Joshua Truett, PhD Candidate Performance/History/Theory Department of Theatre & Sexuality Studies

Project Location (Summer 2017): Juchitán de Zaragoza and Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico

El Foro Ecológico Juchiteco Stage

My mission as an artist/scholar is to create work that expands social discourse and instigates introspection about social and political issues. I was born in San Diego, less than twenty miles from the Mexican border. During my childhood in Southern California, I became fascinated by intersections: the places where peoples, cultures, and ideologies converge. This is reflected in my academic research and creative work, which is situated between the intersections of various art forms—prerecorded media and live performance, and the borders between theatre, dance and film.

Josh Truett at El Foro Ecológico Juchiteco

My dissertation research focuses on a study of the festival performances of the indigenous populations of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, Mexico. In particular I focus on the festivals, known as velas, in the Zapotec town of Juchitán de Zaragoza. During my third fieldwork trip to the city, I was part of a group of artists who began collaboration on a project to explore issues around borders and immigration. We were later invited by a local arts and educational organization, El Foro Ecológico Juchiteco, to use their community center for rehearsing and devising the production, which the Global Mobility Project grant helped to support in the summer of 2017. The artists involved in the project hail from the United States, Mexico, and Cuba. Together we have initiated an investigation into our collective experiences as migrants and border dwellers.

Radio interview

During our work over the summer we explored how borders and border crossings can be experienced not only physically, but also conceptually and spiritually. We began by asking how individuals navigate distances, mobility, and cultural clashes in fluid, creative, and productive ways that counter the common narratives constructed about migrants by politicians and mass media, especially in the United States and Europe.

These questions then contributed to a wider discussion of the challenges and opportunities created through national and transnational mobility, gaining insight into how these dynamics have affected our own individual lives and the communities we live in. The material we generated from our own experiences became the foundation for the original text and dance that we created during the workshop, which we plan to fuse with video and film as the project progresses. The performance we are creating will be multilingual, including Spanish, English, and Zapotec text.

Workshop 2

At the end of our two-week workshop, we were challenged by the realties of creating a transnational collaborative project in which the collaborators involved live in four different cities, separated by thousands of miles. How do we continue the creative work when we are not together in the same place? What are the hurdles to collaborating in a digital rather than physical space? In the future, how can we sustain a tour of a performance with the challenges of visas, “travel bans,” and the high costs of touring? What is the best medium to contain and share our work, so that it can circulate most widely? We are still seeking answers to these and the other questions raised during our summer workshop.



A couple months after the workshop, in September of 2017, two massive earthquakes and numerous large aftershocks rocked the southern region of Mexico. The Isthmus and Juchitán de Zaragoza were hit especially hard, with over 100 deaths and countless numbers of buildings and other structures destroyed or damaged, including the complete leveling of a large section of the city hall, the palacio municipal. In a year that has witnessed so many natural disasters, the tragedy in Juchitán has gone under reported, and it has quickly faded from the headlines. However, the challenges faced by the inhabitants of the Isthmus persist and the need for aid and supplies is still urgent. Please consider donating to one of the organizations who are mentioned in this New York Times article.


Vampire Nation

by Lisa Beiswenger, PhD candidate in Anthroplogy


On October 10, 2017, Professor Tomislav Longinovic visited Dr. Cohen’s Anthropology 7805: Human Mobility: The Anthropology of Migration.  In preparation for the visit, the students read Longinovic’s Vampire Nation: Violence as Cultural Imaginary.   The discussion meandered through a variety of themes from popular culture, mythology, and politics.

Through the book, Longinovic explores the vampire as a metaphor, pointing to the Gothic associations of violence, blood, and soil in the writings of many intellectuals and politicians during the 1990s, especially in portrayals by the U.S.-led Western media of ‘the serbs’ as a vampire nation, a bloodsucking parasite on the edge of European civilization” (Longinovic).

The class discussion began with a question about how refugees are treated in Serbia.  While on the surface this question is simple, it actually has some deep cultural ties.  First, some Serbians feel solidarity with refugees because they would also like to move to one of Europe’s wealthier countries.  Second, stories of exile are written into the culture and thus tie into national identity.  Finally, there are Biblical and mythological overtones at play: one must be hospitable because one never knows who the guest really is.

Next, the students discussed how the vampire myth ties into nationalism.  Vampirism is the perfect metaphor for nationalism because it is the past consuming the future.  The vampire does not consume the old and enfeebled; he eats the young, the healthy, and the intelligent.  The vampire further exemplifies nationalism because of his ties to blood and soil.  Myths of vampires spring up along the zones of cultural transition, the borders, where there is ethnic mixing – people who are not one or the other.

As the class concluded, we discussed how portrayals of vampires have changed over time.  Early vampires are dust and dead bodies.  It wasn’t until they were aestheticized by the Gothic imagination that they transformed into something attractive and graceful.  Today, there is the “vegan” vampire (ex. Louis from Interview with the Vampire, Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Edward from Twilight), a vampire of remarkable beauty who can live indefinitely but who drinks from humans begrudgingly.

Longinovic, Tomislav.  Vampire Nation.  eDuke Books Scholarly Collection.  http://read.dukeupress.edu/content/vampire-nation 

Research Methodology Workshop

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 1:00-2:30
Location: Enarson, Room 160

On Tuesday, November 14, 1:00-2:30 we will be hosting a discussion on Research Methodology.  The workshop will feature presentations from our faculty affiliates and team members.

Join the GMP affiliated faculty, Robin Judd (History), Hannah Kosstrin (Dance), Yana Hashamova (Slavic), Arati Maleku (Social Work), and Ryan Skinner (Music), as they discuss research methodologies related to questions of global mobility and migration.

Dublin Arts Council – Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between

Dublin Arts Council is presenting Urur Dhex-Dhexaad Ah: Community In-Between, a photography exhibition featuring 15 central Ohio Somali trailblazers, as the first iteration in a three-year project exploring immigration, integration and identity. Portraits created by two female Somali high school students and other community photographers will be accompanied by written and video personal narratives, artifacts and oral histories delivered by augmented reality.
The exhibit runs until November 3 at The Dublin Arts Council, 7125 Riverside Dr., Dublin, Ohio

NYT Article: For Migrants Headed North, the Things They Carried to the End

What do migrants choose to carry with them?  What items are so important that they make it from the beginning to the end of the journey?  An exhibition called “State of Exception/Estado de Excepción” at Parsons School of Design sought to answer those questions as it explores the journey of migrants to United States from Mexico through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

While the exhibit closed in April, you can still read about it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/arts/design/state-of-exception-estado-de-excepcion-parsons-mexican-immigration.html?_r=0

The process of making “Erasure of fallen dust” and “Ethnographer/Photographer, Corona, Queens”

by Sa’dia Rehman

ROY G BIV Gallery is currently exhibiting work by Nayeon Yang and Sa’dia Rehman. Yang’s live-feed videos and projections fill the gallery with ethereal iterations of its visitors. Rehman’s multidisciplinary installations discuss language and her upbringing in a Muslim-American household. The work of both artists will be on display May 6–27 at 997 N High St. Hours: 1– 6 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.  

Below is an artist statement by Sa’dia Rehman in which she discusses the thought process behind her work. 

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

The works included in my solo exhibition at ROY G BIV Gallery are:

  • a wall drawing titled Erasure of Fallen Dust, 2017
  • a drawing on paper titled Bul Bul ka Bacha, A Rhyme, 2016
  • three 4 x 6 photographs titled A Family Garden, 2016
  • and a video titled Ethnographer/Photographer, Episode 3: Corona/Queens, New York, 2017

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

The wall drawing and the video are supported by a grant from the Global Mobility Project at Ohio State University, an Arts & Humanities Discovery Theme Pilot Project

The wall drawing continued to evolve in the gallery and in my studio, rejecting the possibility of resolution and in support of the unfinished. My work addresses a void in contemporary visual art: the imagery of the Muslim family and its artifacts are essentially absent outside of depictions of war and violence abroad. Much of my work is rooted in narratives from my own experience and my family. For me the unfinished are these narratives and these thoughts, yet to be visible.

Making of Erasure Fallen Dust

My work engages the unfinished as method, material, and process. By focusing on the unfinished, the work rejects the idea that any work is finished or fixed. Instead the work turns the viewer to focus on the process of art-making. It points to the subjectivity, rather than objectivity, of the artist as art-maker, and the viewer as consumer. Rather than suggest a stable truth, it suggests that we are all unfinished, changing, evolving. There is no complete, or possibility of complete, in the work: I am more interested in the relational and dynamic aspect of understanding and meaning making. The work deals with issues for which there are no answers. These issues exist in ever-shifting and polarized terrain–which makes understanding between the artist and the viewer near impossible.

Nayeon and Erasure Fallen Dust

My ongoing video series, Ethnographer/Photographer plays with concepts of language, power, belonging, and framing, as well as travel, tourism, voyeurism, and study. I use the word “ethnographer” in the title of this work knowing that this work is not a thorough study of human culture. However, the work uses elements of ethnography- observations, documentation, and records. I am the subject, the viewer, and the storyteller interacting with a city.

Still from EthnoPhoto Corona

In earlier episodes of this work, I engaged with strangers and requested that they take photos of me. As I lend my camera to passersby, a non-verbal exchange of power occurred. The stranger became the photographer, positioned my body, directed my facial expressions, and composed the photograph. These simple gestures unfold into friendly conversations, revelatory stories, and momentary companionships. I then created a performance and video with the photographs and my accompanying journal entries. The interactions have lasted from five minutes to two days. However, I reveal just a few details of these interactions.

Still from EthnoPhoto Corona

For the episode exhibited at ROY G BIV, I visited my childhood neighborhood of Corona and walked the streets for days. Many of the paths I walked traced the steps I ran around while a child growing up in Queens, New York. During my walk, I realized that this episode couldn’t follow the same formula as noted above. I felt that I needed to capture my walk by attaching my camera to my body. This episode is an unedited version of a twenty-minute walk from the 103rd street subway station to Masjid Al-Falah to what once was my dad’s halal meat shop now a barber shop, my childhood home, the firehouse across the street, the former Tiffany glass factory, P.S. 19Q, and the corner bodega.

Artist talk: Saturday May 20th 2:30 PM at
ROY G BIV Gallery
997 N. High Street
Columbus, OH


Sa’dia Rehman copies, assembles, and disassembles family photographs, intimate and ritual objects, and visual and written language as a way to explore the limits and possibilities of self and collective being. Through collages, stencils, installations, and photo/video, she explores states of in-between, past and present, belonging and desire.  She is currently exploring the role of walls in constructing interior and exterior spaces. Rehman has shared her work at Urban Art Space (2017), ROYGBIV (2017), Twelve Gates (2016), Center for Book Arts (2015), Local Projects (2014), Queens Museum (2012), Brooklyn Museum (2010), and Grey Noise (2008). She was selected for the Global Mobility grant (2017), Rasquache Residency in Puebla Mexico (2016), LMCC’s Artists Summer Institute (2011), AIM Bronx Museum (2008), and a residency at the National Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan (2006). Her work has been featured inThe New York Times, Harper’s, Art Papers, and ColorLines. She will have a solo show at Pearl Conard Gallery, Mansfield, OH in January 2018. Rehman received her MFA from Ohio State University (2017) and her MA in Art History at City College, CUNY (2006).    

Exhibit Shows Bhutanese-Nepali Refugees Living in Central Ohio

There are 20,000 Bhutanese-Nepali Refugees living in Central Ohio making this community one of the largest refugee communities in Columbus.  According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, “since the 1980s, roughly 80,000 of Bhutan’s ethnic Nepalese have resettled in the United States after the Bhutanese monarchy banned their Hindu religion, language and customs. Many others were jailed or killed, and still others were driven into exile after being forced to turn over their land and resources to the government.”

This exhibit, profiled in the Columbus Dispatch on May 11, presents the faces of 30 of our Bhutanese-Nepali neighbors and friends.  Each photograph, taken by Tariq Tarey, is accompanied by a narrative written by Doug Rutledge, which explains each individual’s history.  These photographs tell the story of the Bhutanese-Nepali refugees, their lives in Bhutan, their experience leaving, life in refugee camps, and their new life in Columbus.

The exhibit runs until Sunday, January 7, 2018 at the Ohio History Center; 800 E. 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211, Weds.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. Noon–5 p.m.  For more information, visit the Ohio History Center Website.


Exhibition Opening: Nayeon Yang | Sa’dia Rehman

Left to right: Nayeon Yang, Orbital Inclination, 2017, multi channel live-feed video installation, dimensions variable. Sa’dia Rehman, Bul Bul ka Bacha, A Rhyme, 2016, graphite, black spray paint and ink on paper, 48”x120”

Nayeon Yang | Sa’dia Rehman

ROY G BIV Gallery presents work by Nayeon Yang and Sa’dia Rehman. Yang’s live-feed videos and projections fill the gallery with ethereal iterations of its visitors. Rehman’s multidisciplinary installations discuss language and her upbringing in a Muslim-American household. The work of both artists will be on display May 6–27 at 997 N High St. Hours: 1– 6 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6, from 7–10 pm
Artists’ Talks: Saturday, May 20 at 2:30 pm
Closing: Saturday, May 27

Nayeon Yang will use live-feed video and projection to fill the gallery with ethereal iterations of its visitors. Yang’s work explores interactions individuals have with the people around them. This subject-object, or self-other relationship is magnified in the context of her work by creating an interactive environment where images of the self are rearranged and individuality becomes manifold.

Yang is a U.S.-based interdisciplinary artist from South Korea. She has exhibited her work at various venues including CICA Museum (Gimpo, S. Korea), 849 Gallery at the Kentucky College of Art and Design (Louisville, KY), Urban Arts Space (Columbus, OH), Performance Art Bergen (Bergen, Norway), Bunker Projects (Pittsburgh, PA), Art Museum at the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), and Latitude 53 (Edmonton, AB. Canada), and Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago, IL). She received a MFA from the Ohio State University (2016) and BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011).

Sa’dia Rehman’s multidisciplinary practice pulls from her collection of family photos, ritual objects, English and Urdu text. Rehman uses an array of mark-making techniques, stencils and collage to discuss the broader implications of language and perception as well as her experience growing up in a Muslim household in America, where being perceived as “other” foiled the familiarity of home.

Rehman will also screen the video series Ethnographer/Photographer, documenting her interactions with passerby as she asks them to take a photo of her. The project is supported by a grant from the Global Mobility Project at Ohio State University, an Arts & Humanities Discovery Theme Pilot Project. Rehman has shared her work at Urban Art Space (2017), Twelve Gates (2016), Center for Book Arts (2015), Local Projects (2014), Queens Museum (2012), Brooklyn Museum (2010), and Grey Noise (2008). She was selected for the Global Mobility grant (2017), Rasquache Residency in Puebla Mexico (2016), LMCC’s Artists Summer Institute (2011), AIM Bronx Museum (2008), and a residency at the National Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan (2006). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Harper’s, Art Papers, and ColorLines. She will have a solo show at Pearl Conard Gallery, Mansfield, OH in January 2018. Rehman received her MFA from Ohio State University (expected 2017); her MA in Art History at City College, CUNY (2006).

ROY G BIV Gallery | 997 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201 | Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1–6 pm www.roygbivgallery.org | 614-297-7694

The Globalising Wall

This stunning video installation by Danae Stratou was based on a text by Yanis Varoufakis.  It was exhibited at The Mangere Arts Centre in New Zealand in 2012-2013 and The International Visual Arts Program in Adelaide, Australia in 2012.


Walls have a longstanding relation both with liberty from fear and subjugation to another’s will. After 1945, walls acquired an unprecedented determination to divide. They spread like a bushfire from Berlin to Palestine, from the tablelands of Kashmir to the villages of Cyprus, from the Korean peninsula to the streets of Belfast. When the Cold War ended, we were told to expect their dismantling. Instead, they are growing taller, more impenetrable, longer. They leap from one continent onto the next. They are globalising. From the West Bank to Kosovo, from the gated communities of Egypt to those of California, from the killing fields of old Ethiopia to the US-Mexico borders, a seamless wall is meandering its way, both physically and emotionally, on the planet’s surface. Its spectre is upon us.”  – Yanis Varoufakis


Click here to visit the artist’s website to watch part 2 of the installation and to see stills from the videos.