Category Archives: Acquisitions

new acquisitions

The Bontoc Igorot, Kalinga, and Ifugao people

Verso text: “Two Igorrots with Gongs. The Gongs are used on which to bat time for their dances. Note that the handles are human jawbones from the heads of enemies taken in battle. The upper portion of the skull is given a place of honor in the home of the captor.” Two Igorrots with gongs
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10636333
Identifier:, ark:/88435/zg64tv292
Call Number: GA 2011.00241

Igorrot man. Bontoc Province, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier: 10636335
Identifier: ark:/88435/dr26z574x
Call Number: GA 2011.00230

Bagobo man, taken near Davao, Mindinao
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10643034
Identifier:, ark:/88435/m900p278r
Call Number: GA 2011.00222

Early in the twentieth century, historians, anthropologists, and businessmen traveled to the Philippines to both study and bring elements of that culture to the United States, resulting in a massive exhibit at the 1904 St. Louis Fair. “Several anthropologists had gone to the Philippines to study the tribes people of the Cordillera region Northern Luzon. In 1903, the National Geographic did a spread on the people of the region. Anthropologist Albert Jenks conducted fieldwork in 1902, and his ethnographic information was used in the brochures describing the tribes people at expositions in the U.S. Jenks, who worked for the U.S. government, brought over people from the region to the Fair, some of whom lived with him and his wife.” —

The Graphic Arts Collection holds 30 mammoth photographs, recently digitized, taken by an unidentified expedition to the Philippines. The text pasted on the backing board is often racist and pejorative, only some of which is quoted here. Although none are dated, the prints are presumed to be from the early 20th century, after the 1904 fair: “Bagobo Man. Showing how teeth are filed. The Bagobos live on the Gulf of Davao in Mindinao and are noted as the tribe who offer human sacrifices. In 1909 twenty of these people were sentenced by Judge Springer of the Court of first Instance for having taken part in a human sacrifice in the hills near Sta Cruz Davao. They offered a sacrifice of an 8 year old boy to Mandarangan the god of evil as their crops had been bad. Had their crops been good they would have offered a sacrifice to Dawata the god of good. In any case they must appease the wrath of the gods. This tribe make very showy clothing of beads and hemp cloth and are probably the most picturesque tribe in the Islands.”

Blunt opinions are made about the people photographed: “They are of a low order of intellegence [sic], live in filthy huts and eke out an existence by abortive attempts at agriculture.” An emphasis is placed on the use of skulls in decoration, and on the local diets that include dog meat.

“A Young Igorrot. Taken at Bontoc, Island of Luzon. The Non-Christian tribes of the central part of Luzon number about 500,000 souls of whom the Igorrots are the most numerous. They are great agriculturists but their favorite dish is Dog. Any kind of dog – but dogs with a white skin and hair preferred. They are head hunters and when a successful war party returns there is great rejoicing. The gory trophies are stuck up in front of the home of their captor and there ensues a great feast with much drinking. They believe that the spirit of a person can make trouble for those who killed him but that such a spirit profits by the food and drink consumed by the living at the feast in honor of their killing. A man or boy who has taken a head finds it easy to get an acceptable wife and the influence of the women is one of the potent factors which renders difficult the supression [sic] of head hunting amongst these people.”

It is hoped that by digitizing these images, work can be done to improve the study and description so poorly written 100 years ago.

Verso text: “Ifugao Igorrot House Ornamented with Human Heads and the Man Who Took Them. Taken at Quingan, Nueva Viscaya, Island of Luzon. He makes no distinction between the heads of animals captured in the chase or those of his enemies. All are ornaments of which he is extremely proud. The horns are those of the Water Buffalo (Carabao).”Ifugo Igorrot house ornamented with human heads and the man who took them. Taken at Quingan, Nueva Viscay, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10646377
Identifier:, ark:/88435/37720n08r
Call Number: GA 2011.00228

Verso text: “Ifugao Igorrots. Just married and showing their wedding dress.” Ifugao Ingorrots. Just married and showing their wedding dress
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10643036
Identifier:, ark:/88435/5712mf89s
Call Number: GA 2011.00227


Verso text: “An Ingolot Dance. Province of Nueva Viscaya, Philippine Islands. These people are very similar to the Igorrotes and are also Dog eaters and head hunters. They will continue a dance for hours at a time going through a series of weird motions intended to typify their valor in battle etc.”
An Ingolot dance. Province of Nueva Viscaya, Philippine Islands
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10654194
Identifier:, ark:/88435/70795g99j
Call Number: GA 2011.00220


Verso text: “Subano Man. The Subanos inhabit the hills in the interior of the Island of Mindinao and are not as warlike as the Moros who inhabit the coast.” Subano man
Source Metadata Identifier: 10654192
Identifier: ark:/88435/rx913z24z
Call Number: GA 2011.00238


Additional records and links:

Tinguian man
Source Metadata Identifier: 10667665
Identifier: ark:/88435/xp68kq56f
Call Number GA 2011.00239

Another Mangayan home. Island of Mindoro – constructed of Bamboo and Nipa
Source Metadata Identifier: 10667664
Identifier: ark:/88435/6682xc32w
Call Number: GA 2011.00221

Bagobo man. Showing how teeth are filled
Source Metadata Identifier: 10667663
Identifier: ark:/88435/q524jx12m
Call Number: GA 2011.00223

Tinguian man playing a flute with his nose
Source Metadata Identifier: 10664307
Identifier: ark:/88435/n8710017n
Call Number: GA 2011.00240

Mangayan home. Baco River, Island of Mindoro
Source Metadata Identifier: 10664306
Identifier: ark:/88435/9z9037223
Call Number: GA 2011.00235

Ifugao Igorrot smoking
Source Metadata Identifier: 10660933
Identifier: ark:/88435/8049gd42t
Call Number: GA 2011.00226

Ingorrot woman taken at Bontoc Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier: 10664305
Identifier: ark:/88435/hh63t426q
Call Number: GA 2011.00234

Heads of enemies placed in a position of honor
Source Metadata Identifier: 10660932
Identifier: ark:/88435/2f75rh39q
Call Number: GA 2011.00225

Ingorrot woman showing ornamental stretching of the ear lobe and taken in Bontoc Province, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier: 10660931
Identifier: ark:/88435/gh93h6870
Call Number: GA 2011.00233

Igorrot girls house (for unmarried girls).
Source Metadata Identifier: 10654193
Identifier: ark:/88435/kd17d221d
Call Number: GA 2011.00229

Bontoc Igorrot man and two women wearing banana leaf clothing
Source Metadata Identifier: 10657568
Identifier: ark:/88435/9019s983k
Call Number: GA 2011.00224

A young Igorrot. Taken at Bontoc, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier: 10657569
Identifier: ark:/88435/sx61dv647
Call Number: GA 2011.00218

Young Mangayan woman, taken on Baco River, Island of Mindoro
Source Metadata Identifier: 10657567
Identifier: ark:/88435/p55480738
Call Number: GA 2011.00242

A typical Moro house at Jolo
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10649712
Identifier:, ark:/88435/br86bb92g
Call Number: GA 2011.00217

Ingolot man, Province of Nueva Viscaya, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10649711
Identifier:, ark:/88435/jh344164c
Call Number:GA 2011.00232Top of Form

A group of Ifugao Igorrots fighting for a piece of meat which was thrown away by a camping party as unfit for human consumption. Taken at Magok, Ifugao, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10649713
Identifier:, ark:/88435/1g05fk95r
Call Number: GA 2011.00213

A Negrito home, Cagayan Province, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10646378
Identifier:, ark:/88435/47429j481
Call Number: GA 2011.00215

Negrito women with their children. Province of Zambales
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10636334
Identifier:, ark:/88435/cr56n836m
Call Number: GA 2011.00236

Negrito women with their children. Province of Zambales
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10636334
Identifier:, ark:/88435/cr56n836m
Call Number: GA 2011.00236

Ifugo Igorrot house ornamented with human heads and the man who took them. Taken at Quingan, Nueva Viscay, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10646377
Identifier:, ark:/88435/37720n08r
Call Number: GA 2011.00228

Ingolot man. Province of Nueva Viscaya, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10639681
Identifier:, ark:/88435/0g354p56z
Call Number: GA 2011.00231

An Igorrot and his family. Trinidad, Benguet
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10643035
Identifier:, ark:/88435/vq27zw778
Call Number: GA 2011.00219

A Kalinga chief from Balantok, mountain province
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10639683
Identifier:, ark:/88435/r207tx693
Call Number: GA 2011.00214

A Negrito woman and child. Taken at Casablanca, Island of Luzon
Source Metadata Identifier:, 10639682
Identifier:, ark:/88435/wp988t15p
Call Number: GA 2011.00216

The Belle of Atlantic Avenue, 1918

The Kaplan Klan, 1907 from:

Photograph album identified as “The Kaplan Klan,” New York: [1907]–1943. 262 gelatin silver prints. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

Photography album labels front and back

The scout attending camp above might be Howard E. Kaplan (born 1929) son of Jack Kaplan (born 1897), in Brooklyn, New York, related to Belle Kaplan on Henry Street, but the benefit of the album is not specific to one person or family. It presents a look into Jewish American family life in the 1930s and 1940s Brooklyn. The ‘Kaplan Klan’ lived together, worked together (at the Atlas Portland Cement company), and vacation together. Extensive handwritten captions are by a male family member and include a smattering of Yiddish.


“By the middle of the 1920s, Scouting was growing at a tremendous pace. There were, at that time, living in the great city of New York men who were dreaming of vast unspoiled woodland acres as a solution to a problem which weighed heavily on their minds and hearts. This group was the Boy Scout Foundation of Greater New York, which was headed by a man of great foresight as well as an abundance of Boy Scout training. His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, in 1929, became Governor of New York State and eventually guided the destiny of the United States as President throughout the Depression era and World War II.”–Ten Mile River Scout Museum

In August 1935, the family takes a sunny vacation to Sunrise Lake at Lewis Morris Park is just outside Morristown, NJ. The caption reads: “The 8 Living Spinsters of Bungalow 15, startled beyond words at the sight of a man (yes – me) Look at them stretching their necks for the pleasure of one good look at a man…”



Mountaindale, NY, was one of many small towns in the Catskills that hosted summer camps where the entire family spent a month or two each year.

“At the turn of the 19th century the celebrated Jewish resort area started in the Sullivan and Ulster County Catskills. New Yorkers hungry for mountain air, good food and the American way of leisure came to the mountains by the thousands, and by the 1950s a half-million people each year inhabited the “summer world” of bungalow colonies, summer camps and small hotels. These institutions shaped American Jewish culture, enabling Jews to become more American while at the same time introducing the American public to immigrant Jewish culture. Home-grown Borscht Belt entertainment provided America with a rich supply of comedians, musicians and performers.

Legions of young men and women used the Catskills as a springboard to successful careers and marriages. The hotels and summer camps of the area provided jobs to thousands of college students who relied on their wages and tips to finance the education that would catapult them (or so they hoped) into the higher reaches of American society. We suspect that Richard Feynman, the Princeton physicist, was not the only Nobel Prize winner to bus tables in the Catskills.–

The Graphic Narratives of Dulari Devi

Dulari Devi, Corona Effect in Patna, 2020. Acrylic on paper. Purchased with funds from South Asian Studies and Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

On March 24, 2020, Prime Minister Modi gave the 1.35 billion citizens of India four hours’ notice before he imposed a complete lockdown of the country, hoping to prevent the spread of Covid 19. It is hard to imagine the rush this instigated, as thousands of people pressed into trains, boarded ships, borrowed bicycles, and in any way possible struggled to reach family. Many were stranded, many became unemployed, and many were infected.

Second only to the United States, India has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. Over the last year indigenous artists of India turned their attention to this subject matter, chronicling the 2020 exodus and its aftermath.

This week in January 2021, India’s health minister declared its COVID-19 epidemic contained. Also this week, the Graphic Arts Collection acquired the first of a group of paintings by the artists of the Mithila region, responding to the events of the last year. We follow their work through the Mithila Art Institute:

The red arrow indicates the town of Madhubani in the Mithila region in northeast India. Traditionally, the women of this area decorated the walls of their homes for special events, eventually putting these designs onto paper and selling them to a growing international market.

Our first acquisition is by Dulari Devi, a Master Painter and Instructor at the Mithila Art Institute. Her biography states “A resident of Ranti, she received the State of Bihar Award for Excellence in Art in 2013, and authored the first autobiography by a Mithila painter, the award winning, Following My Paintbrush (2010). She learned to paint from Karpoori Devi one of the early Masters. She is now in great demand for her murals, closely observed village scenes, and paintings of Ganesh and Durga.” She writes,

“Corona positive patients are reaching [the] hospital but [there] is not enough space for large number of patients. Four patients are in critical position lying on the floor. Some people are carrying patients on their shoulder, as there is no ambulance available. In another scene, one person is distributing food packets among the people. And then a government employee is distributing among the people. And then a government employee is distributing mask among people. Finally, the lockdown has been imposed in Patna city. All the daily wage laborers are now unemployed and are coming to Madhubani, to their villages by bus. One family is traveling on the Ganga in a boat.” — Dulari Devi, Mithila Art in the Time of Covid 19

See also:
Bharti Dayal, Madhubani art (Durbuy, Belgium: Museum of Sacred Art ; New Delhi, India : Niyogi Books, 2015). Marquand Library N7310.D39 A4 2015

Mulk Raj Anand, Madhubani painting (New Delhi, India: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 1984). ReCAP ND1006 M26 An14

Martine Le Coz, Mithilâ: l’honneur des femmes (Paris: L’Harmattan: Michalon, 2013). ReCAP 14-14284


In March there will be a free live webinar focusing on Princeton’s new collection of Mithila paintings. Details coming.

The Commissioners [of the 1778 Carlisle Peace Commission]

The bales and barrels are inscribed “Tobacco for Germany; Rice for France; Tobacco for France; Tobacco for Holland; America 1778; Indico for Spain; Indico for the Mediterranean Ports; and V.R. (Monogram).”


The Commissioners, April 1, 1778. London: Published by M. Darly, 39 Strand. Hand colored engraving. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2021- in process.

From 1766 to 1778, Mary and Matthew Darly had a printshop at 39 Strand, on the corner of Buckingham Street, London. This was only one of 17 locations the British Museum has now identified with shops owned by one or both the Darlys. In the past, many prints listed as M. Darly were simply attributed to Matthew or Matthias (ca. 1720–1780), although Mary (flourished 1760–1781) clearly had her own shops, prints, and publications, as with the Graphic Arts Collection’s copy of Mary Darly’s A Book of Caricaturas: on 59 Copper-Plates, with ye principles of designing in that droll & pleasing manner, by M. Darly, with sundry ancient & modern examples & several well known caricaturas (Cornhill: Printed for John Bowles, [1762?]). GAX 2005-2501N.

A wonderful biography of Matthew can be found at It is unfortunate that the best the DNB can do for Mary Darly is “see Matthew.” Although we continue to argue about attribution–which items should be credited specifically to Mary–at the very least this print should be considered sold by Mary Darly.

The sheet offers a humorous look at the five commissioners nominated to negotiate peace with the American colonies: Admiral Lord Richard Howe, General Sir William Howe, Lord Frederick Carlisle, Lord Auckland (William Eden), and Commodore George Johnstone, known as Governor Johnstone. They kneel facing a personification of America, holding a liberty cap.

The dialogue bubbles read:
“We have block’d up your ports, obstructed your trade, with the hope of starving ye, & contrary to the Law of Nations compelld your sons to war against their Bretheren.”
“We have ravaged your Lands, burnt your Towns, and caus’d your captive Heroes to perish, by Cold, pestilence & famine.”
“We have profaned your places of Divine worship, derided your virtue and piety, and scoff’d at that spirit which has brought us thus on our knees before ye.”
“We have Ravish’d, Scalp’d, and murder’d your People, even from Tender infancy to decrepid age, altho Supplicating for Mercy.”
“For all which material services, we the Commissioners from the most pious & best of sovereigns, doubt not your cordial duty & affection towards us, or willingness to submit yourselves again to receive the same, whenever we have power to bestow it on ye.”

Carlisle, Auckland, and Johnstone sailed for Philadelphia on April 21, 1778, twenty days after this satirical print was published indicating that the Darlys were predicting the failure of the commission, not simply reporting it.

Only five years later, the Continental Congress left Philadelphia and convened in Princeton at Nassau Hall. Here is a bit of local history from the period:


In our continuing effort to broaden Princeton’s collection of books by the Chilean-born visual poet Guillermo Deisler (1940-1995), who was imprisoned in 1973 under the Pinochet government before being exiled, the Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired GRRR.

This is a reissue of Deisler’s artists’ book made in Antofagasta (Chile) in 1969, under the imprint Ediciones Mimbre (1963-1973). The current edition is produced by Naranja Publicaciones: “after 50 years of its first publication, 500 copies were made that maintain the narration of the original and different printing techniques such as risography, letterpress, screen printing and stamping have been mixed.” Naranja is a book store, publisher, and specialized collection of artists’ books located in Santiago:

See other publications by Deisler:


Guillermo Deisler, GRRR (Santiago, Chile: Naranja Publicaciones, 2019). One of 500 copies. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2021- in process


Maria Veronica San Martin, DIGNIDAD, 2020, performance, 07:48 mins. Watch below:

Maria Veronica San Martin is a Chilean-born artist that has resided in the United States since 2010. Her work and her art interests lie primarily in orienting the collective memory of the Chilean population towards the injustices committed under various Chilean regimes, particularly the Pinochet regime and the cruelties committed towards those living in Colonia Dignidad (renamed to Villa Baveria in 1991). San Martin’s art consists of archival works, photographs, etchings, lithographs, and more in a broader pursuit for political progress. She hopes that one day Chile and the Chilean people will unite as one against the injustices they’ve faced. One of the vehicles to get there, especially to Maria Veronica San Martin, is through the use of art as a tool for activism. Through art, she seeks to shed light on human rights abuses and broaden people’s understanding of what it is that has historically happened and has continued to happen in Chile.–

“Dignidad is an artist’s book that documents a two years research-based project on Colonia Dignidad, which highlights the human rights violations committed in an isolated settlement established in the 1960s by Nazis in Chile before and after the dictatorship of Pinochet.”

“Be Healthy.” The Ethics of Medical Advertising.

Public Health Institute. Be Healthy. Chicago, 1937. Color enamel silkscreen on metal. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process


The Public Health Institute (PHI) was established in downtown Chicago in 1919 to cheaply diagnose and treat the epidemic of venereal disease. By 1929, the PHI was serving 1500-2000 patients a day at its three branches, including a south side location opened under pressure from black civic leaders.

Patients remained anonymous and no one was denied service because of inability to pay. Its profits were reinvested in other venereal disease programs, including direct support for the Illinois Social Hygiene League (ISHL) and a $100,000 renovation of Provident Hospital, the first African-American owned and operated hospital in the United States. The PHI’s relationship with ISHL and its director, Dr. Louis Schmidt, brought it notoriety when Schmidt was expelled from the Chicago Medical Society (CMS) for violating its ban on advertising.

“According to its own reports, the PHI not only advertised in daily newspapers but placed 25,000 posters in public toilets, factories, and streetcars. The CMS’s unanimous action against Schmidt and the Institute—based on how PHI’s advertising challenged the social and economic power of their monopoly—was publicly ridiculed, since it punished a charity that had healed thousands. The case brought attention to the increasing cost of medicine and inadequate health care for the lower classes, initiating a conversation about a universal right to health care that continues to this day.”


Read more at: “The Case Of Dr. Louis E. Schmidt: Medical Rights In The Early 20th Century” by Robert Glover, Northern Illinois University and at


“The whole issue was clearly focused in the case of Dr. Louis E. Schmidt, who as head of the Public Health Institute in Cook County, Illinois, had given medical service at about one-third less than customary cost to considerable numbers of people of the lower income groups. Dr. Schmidt was ousted from the Chicago Medical Society and was about to be dropped from the American Medical Association.

He thus defended his activities: “We cannot make all doctors rich by forming a trade union…. Ours is a profession, not a trade…. The time will come when both the profession and the public will be better served. If we organize to bring the cost of hospital, laboratory, and medical care within the purse of all that great majority of our people known as the middle classes, all reputable, capable physicians will prosper greatly.

Such a plan will take the business of meeting the health problems of these people with small incomes away from the quacks, charlatans, and patent medicine vendors, who now prey upon a public which has no other place to turn.” —

Voices of Mississippi

Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris (Atlanta, GA: Dust-to-Digital, 2020). Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process. 120 pages : illustrations + 3 CDs and 1 DVD.

“This watershed release represents the life’s work of William Ferris, an audio recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher with an unwavering commitment to establish and to expand the study of the American South. William Ferris was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1942. Growing up on a working farm, Ferris began at a young age documenting the artwork, music, and lives of the people on the farm and in his local community. The archive of recordings that he created and the documentary films that he had a hand in producing have served as powerful tools in institutions of higher learning for decades.”



The set includes:
Book edited by William Ferris
Essays by Scott Barretta, David Evans and Tom Rankin
Two CDs featuring Blues and Gospel recordings (1966-1978)
One CD featuring Interviews and Storytelling (1968-1994)
One DVD featuring Documentary Films (1972-1980)
Transcriptions for each track


Founded by Lance Ledbetter in 1999, Dust-to-Digital is currently operated by Lance and his wife April in Atlanta, Georgia. Dust-to-Digital began its mission of creating access to hard-to-find music by producing high-quality books, box sets, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records.
…In 2012, Lance and April Ledbetter started a non-profit organization. Music Memory was formed as a way to take action to ensure the sounds and recordings of our past would be preserved. The goal of this company is to make the music from the past available to researchers, teachers and the public so that it can educate and enlighten present and future generations. To date, Music Memory has digitized over 50,000 recordings.


Kissing: the Art of Osculation Curiously, Historically, Humorously, and Poetically Considered

In the 1891 advertisement for Kissing, they write:
“This book, among hundreds of other things, tells all about the origin of kissing ; gives the grammar of kissing; the scientific reason why kisses are pleasant ; how to kiss and how to receive a kiss; the secret significance of kisses; all about lips, “the sweet petitioners for kisses; an Irish kissing festival; the kissing customs of different countries all over the world, when you may kiss with impunity; famous kisses the different kinds of kisses: how college girls kiss; stolen kisses, sometimes called “dainty bits of plunder;” curious bargains for kisses: excuses for kissing; kissing experiences; the important consequences connected with kissing; humorous stories of kissing in tunnels; men kissing each other in France, in England, and in Germany; origin of the custom of kissing the Pope’s toe; Henry IV, and his punishment; kissing the feet of royalty, an ancient custom; kisses as rewards of genius; the part osculation has paid in politics; curious bar gains for kisses; what legally constitutes a kiss; & kiss at auction; giving $50 to kiss Edwin Booth; excuses for kissing; how all nature justifies the practice; the childish and the humorous excuse; kissing casuistry; the gluttony of kissing; unaccountable osculatory demands; excuses for not kissing; Dominie Brown’s first kiss; the kiss of the Spanish girl, the nurse, the mother: & curious German custom; Arrahna-Pogue; refusing the sacrament on account of a kiss; how a child’s kissing affects the course of a desperate man; what a little mare’s kiss did; brought to life by a kiss; the kiss of death. An exceedingly interesting book; a nice little present for a lady. Price 25 Cents. For sale by booksellers; or sent postpaid on receipt of price. “

Osculation 1. the act of caressing with the lips (or an instance thereof). 2. (mathematics) a contact of two curves (or two surfaces) at which they have a common tangent

George Manson, Kissing: the art of osculation, curiously, historically, humorously, and poetically considered (Brooklyn, NY: Union Book, 1888). Graphic Arts Collection 2020- in process

The illustrated wrapper by Arthur T. Lumley (1837-1912),

“‘Everything will be remembered’, a palimpsest” by Ravikumar Kashi

Ravikumar Kashi, ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest. Bangalore, India, 2020. Unique edition. Etched copper plate filled with printing ink, copper wire. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2020- in process

The Graphic Arts Collection is honored to acquire Ravikumar Kashi’s ‘Everything will be remembered’ a palimpsest, one of four finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) Prize, selected by juror Betty Bright from 158 submissions sent from 18 countries. “Established in 2009, this biennial award is meant to represent the diversity of approaches to book art, honoring one winner and four finalists for their unity of form, material, and content.”

Born in Bangalore, India, Ravikumar Kashi ( studied painting, printmaking, and papermaking under masters in India, Scotland, and Korea. He received a National award from Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi in 2001 and two awards from Karnataka Lalita Kala Academy 1990, 1999 and one from Karnataka Shilpa Kala Academy for his works in 2000. He has also received first prize in ‘Ventipertrenta’, International Festival of Digital Art 2017, from Museo Internazionale Dinamico de Arte Contemporanea, Italy.


Note: “The type face of the second layer of the text is an English font called Samarkan, designed to look like a Sanskrit text, and is intended to act as a visual marker for the Indian right-wing practice of quoting ancient texts to gain validation. It is also a simulation of ancient handwritten palm leaf text manuals from India.”


Here is a portion of his artist statement for MCBA, beginning with the background for the work:

On 30th May 2019, the Indian right wing party BJP led by Mr. Narendra Modi formed the central government for a second time. Its election campaign was replete with anti- Muslim rhetoric and sloganeering. That same year, on the 12th of December, the Government of India enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In the weeks following, nationwide protests calling for the repealing the CAA and the foregoing of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was supposed to precede CAA, were held….

In early 2020, following speeches given by BJP leaders inciting their followers to attack and shoot anti-CAA protesters, riots occurred in North-Eastern Delhi. Beginning on 23 February, and caused chiefly by Hindu mobs attacking Muslims, there were multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction, and rioting. Of the 53 people killed in three days, two-thirds were Muslims who were shot, beaten, or set on fire in the Indian capital’s deadliest Hindu-Muslim riot since 1950. …

The Work Concept:

My work is a combination of copper plates used historically for documentation and the idea of palimpsest.
Copper plates: In the Madras Museum, located in southern part of India, a series of copper plates from as early as 4th century AD have been preserved and displayed. These copper plates recorded various events of their time for posterity.
Palimpsest: a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing; something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

In the light of anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots, I wanted to create a copper plate palimpsest for my time , so that the erasure of our constitutional values will not be forgotten.

There are two layers of text in the work. In the partially erased layer seen beneath, is the preamble to the Indian Constitution, declaring its claim to secure justice, liberty, and equality to all citizens, and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. That layer is being eroded, and replaced with textual details of Delhi riots, narrating the incidents of murder and rampage. There are Slogans of violence like “We will enter the house and beat you up” or “Shoot the traitors”.

…The title for the work ‘Everything will be remembered’ comes from the title of the poem written by anti-CAA activist Aamir Aziz, lines of which were also recently recited by [Roger Waters] of Pink Floyd:

A section of “Everything will be remembered” by Amir Aziz.

Tum Raat Likho Hum Chand Likhenge,
Tum Jail Mein Dalo Hum Deewar Phand Likhenge,
You could write the night, but we will write the moon.
If you put us in jail, we would jump over the walls and still write.

Tum FIR Likho Hum Hain Taiyar Likhenge,
Tum Humein Qatl Kar Do Hum Banke Bhoot Likhenge,
Tumhare Qatl Ke Sare Saboot Likhenge,
If you would lodge an FIR against us, we are all set to write about the injustice we are suffering from.
If you murder us, we will come as the ghosts and still write. We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.
We will write mentioning the proofs unveiling the murders you have committed.

…Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega, Sab Kuch Yad Rakha Jayega,
Aur Tumhari Laathiyon Aur Goliyon Se,
Jo Qatl Huwe Hain Mere Yaar Sab,
Unki Yaad Mein Dilon Ko Barbaad Rakha Jayega,
We will remember everything. We will not forget it at all.
The dearest friends of mine who you murdered with lathis (or sticks) & bullets;
In the remembrance of them, we will keep our hearts broken-down. …

Additional reading: Indian antiquary. Bombay, Popular Prakashan [etc.]