Cultures of Exile

The International Studies Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences present the conference, "Cultures of Exile: Conversations on Language and the Arts," Wednesday, Oct. 23 through Friday, Oct. 25, on the 4th floor, UNM's Hodgin Hall, and other main campus venues.

The conference was inspired by the music of Georges Moustaki (1934--2013), especially his song “Le Métèque” (1969). In “Le Métèque” (music, lyrics) Moustaki dealt with outsiders, strangers, and all those who do not share one homogeneous place of origin. What does it mean to be a “métèque,” an exile, an outsider today? Although often associated with loss and victimhood, exile can also foster artistic freedom, creativity, renewal, and empowerment. What is the role of the new place in the development of one’s artistic oeuvre? How does the memory of original sounds, visual images and physical places inflect one’s creative voice? Many of our New Mexico students have personal experiences of exile and relocation. Through presentations and discussions, we will examine how personal and national tales of loss and adversity, transformed through the artist’s medium, can become powerful testimonies of the human condition.

Distinguished speakers include the writers Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (from Malaysia, teaching at UC Santa Barbara), Kébir Ammi from Paris (originally from Morocco), Liana Theodoratou (from Greece, teaching at NYU), Karen Elizabeth Bishop (from the UK, teaching at Rutgers University), and historian Devin Naar, U. of Washington (with ancestors from Salonica, Greece). Speakers from UNM and the Albuquerque community include Diane Thiel, Vera John Steiner, Manuel Montoya and his panelists, Angus Fletcher and Constantine Hadjilambrinos. Commentators include Diana Rebolledo, Natasha Kolchevska, Les Field, Laura Matter and Walter Putnam. 

The conference begins on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. with a reading by Native American poet Luci Tapahonso and northern New Mexico poet Levi Romero, both UNM faculty. Later that day, an art exhibit opening, featuring work by UNM professor Yoshiko Shimano (originally from Japan) and others, is followed by a lecture by Mexico City artist Silvia Gruner. Chinese artist Hung Liu, (Mills College, Calif.), 
will talk about “Summoning Ghosts” on Thursday afternoon.

The conference concludes on Friday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. with a poetry reading by Diane Thiel and Shirley Lim. 

Conference co-sponsors: 
Offices of the Provost, Vice President for Research, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the President 
Anderson School of Management; College of Arts and Sciences; School of Architecture & Planning 
College of Fine Arts; Tamarind Institute; UNM Art Museum; University College 
Departments of Art and Art History, English, Foreign Languages and Literatures, History, Spanish and 
Portuguese; Peace Studies Program; Feminist Research Institute; Latin American & Iberian Institute 
Office of Graduate Studies; Global Education Office; UNM Foundation; UNM Bookstore 
Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies 
Colorado European Union Center of Excellence; Modern Greek Studies Association 
Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce