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The International Print Portfolio: Artists' Expressions of Universal Human Rights

October 7, 2007 - August 10, 2008
West Gallery

Before the Nazi Holocaust, it was a generally-held belief that protecting human rights was the concern of individual governments. But the international alliance formed during World War II, combined with the final revelation of the horrors that had taken place at the hands of the Nazis, convinced many people of the necessity of making human rights a universal concern monitored under universal standards.
The prints featured in this exhibition were produced by a diverse group of artists from all over the world, from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to Australia and the Americas. These striking, sometimes disturbing works are accompanied by artist biographies and statements by the artists that reveal their individual perspectives on issues of art and human rights.

The set of prints, owned by the Michigan State University Museum, is being circulated in North America as one of a series of activities between Michigan State University and a consortium of agencies in South Africa, including the African National Congress; Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Fort Hare; and Mayibuye Centre, University of the Western Cape. This series of prints, exhibition and accompanying publication is second in a series of arts initiatives of the Artists for Human Rights utilizing the medium of printmaking to foster an awareness of human rights issues. The first "Images of Human Rights" print portfolio, produced in 1996, celebrated a new post-apartheid South African government's adoption of its own Bill of Rights and featured the work of South African artists.

This exhibition is part of the MSU Museum's Traveling Exhibition Service, which has developed more than 20 exhibits based on museum research and collections for libraries, galleries and museums around the region. A companion "International Print Portfolio" book is also available for sale at the MSU Museum Store. Funding for planning the U.S. tour of this exhibition has been provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

2007-2008 features a special human rights exhibit theme at the MSU Museum. Coming January 15, 2008: "Quilts and Human Rights," Main Gallery.

Also of note: 2007-2008 is MSU's Year of Arts & Culture, with special exhibitions, performances and programs all around campus, all year long. It's all right here: http://artsandculture.msu.edu.

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Image courtesy:

"Banned," Gonkar Gyatso (Tibetan).
Screenprint on paper, 13.002" x 12.608".
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong.
Collection of MSU Museum. acc. 2000:5.
From The International Print Portfolio:
Artists' Expressions of Universal Human Rights.