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Drew University Welcomes Artist-in-Residence Smita Sen

Grief Body Semiotics on view through December 1 

November 2023 – Drew University has welcomed Smita Sen as artist-in-residence. Her exhibition, Grief Body Semiotics, is on view through December 1 at The Korn Gallery.

An opening reception, hosted by Drew’s Art and Art History departments, took place earlier this month. 

“We are pleased to have Smita Sen on campus as an Artist-in-Residence and to share this wonderful project with the Drew community,” said Associate Teaching Professor of Art Jason Karolak. “I am finding that this exhibition and residency is really resonating with our students. They are talking with Smita multiple times through her process on campus, and she has also visited their studios and given them feedback on their work.”

The exhibition, curated by Assistant Professor of Digital Technologies Ryan Woodring, is named from a growing archive of text, drawing, and movement based research into personal and cultural traditions for expressing grief in the body. It also includes a moving image dance work from Sen’s ongoing Geology of Longing series that brings her face-to-face with five volcanic sites that her late father studied as a geologist. 

Sen works with sculpture, dance-based performance, and advanced technology to research the relationship between the body and memory. 

Additionally, the exhibition houses a set of 3D prints made by Drew’s digital 3D modeling students in response to Sen’s Manipura: Of Flowers & Bones collection.

As part of her residency, Sen will also direct a collaborative performance with students from Assistant Professor of Dance Kimani Fowlin’s choreography class, scheduled to take place on December 1 at The Korn Gallery.

“I study haptic memory—the memory specific to ‘touch’ stimuli—and consider how the body internalizes its environment and significant life events,” said Sen. “With this approach, I study how the human body becomes a living document, storing tension, movement patterns, and emotion over the course of a lifetime. In dance-based performance, I develop ways of documenting the body as its strength and abilities change.”

The Korn Gallery is located in the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts at Drew University and is open Tuesday through Friday from noon-4 p.m. and by appointment.  

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