The Lunder Institute for American Art is excited to welcome a new cohort of fellows for the 2024 spring semester.The Lunder Institute supports scholarly and creative research by selecting one or more scholars, curators, or artists annually whose work aligns with its mission of reshaping the contours of American Art. These fellows contribute to the Colby College community through a myriad of means, including academic engagement, public programs, onsite visits, and mining the Colby College Museum of Art’s permanent collection for inspiration.
Already at work remotely are the collaborative duo Enzo Camacho and Ami Lien, artists and writers from the United States and the Philippines. Together, their artistic practice moves from the Philippines outwards to other places, addressing localized iterations of labor and capital from the perspective of imperial damage.
Camacho and Lien’s fellowship will culminate in a visit to Waterville in the summer of 2024, during which they will stage a community paper-making workshop that foregrounds ideas of food sovereignty, land justice, and local ecologies. Prior to their site visit, Camacho and Lien will also conduct research into works in the museum’s Lunder Collection and other holdings made by unnamed artists, based on their own interest in folk or “peoples” vernacular. There will also be opportunities for students and faculty to be in virtual conversation with the artists during the spring ’24 semester.
Interdisciplinary artist Brian Smith will be in residence with the Lunder Institute from January to May of 2024, and will spend the entirety of the spring academic semester onsite, living and working within the Waterville community. Based in Portland, Maine, Smith’s practice draws on queer theory to complicate traditionally held views of nature as separate from human society. During his fellowship, Smith will focus on the development of a body of work that explores the relationship between humanity and the rising oceans through the perspective of queer ecology.
Smith’s fellowship period will advance his inquiries into the role of adaptation, transformation, and interconnectedness in our shared future. While in residence, Smith will mentor a Colby student interested in visual arts and environmental studies through a partnership sponsored by the college’s Buck Lab for Climate and Environment. The campus’s student and scholarly community will also have opportunities to engage with Smith in the studio and classroom. During his time on campus, Smith will research and learn from artists with conceptual and material underpinnings related to his own practice represented in the Colby Museum’s collection, including holdings by Frank Moore, Thaddeus Mosley, Hew Locke, Daphne Cummings, and Ashley Bryan.
Artists and scholars Yumi Janairo Roth and Emmanuel David’s collaborative research examines the experiences of Filipino performers in “Wild West” shows, including the well-known Buffalo Bill’s Wild West traveling show, between 1899–1900, foregrounding their importance and establishing connections between the shows and the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. Over the course of their fellowship, Roth and David’s research and creative production will continue to draw attention to this overlooked group of Asian performers, situating them in the context of U.S. imperial expansion. Through this work, Roth and David aim to fill a major gap in the historical record and enhance understandings of the transnational aspects of the American West.
As Lunder Institute fellows, Roth and David will engage with the Lunder Collection’s robust holdings pertaining to the American West, including works by James McNeill Whistler, Alfred Jacob Miller, and Albert Bierstadt. Beyond mining the museum’s collection, Roth and David will utilize their fellowship to continue their scholarly inquiries into modes of representation of Filipinos at the turn of the century, revealing new understandings of the Filipino performers who traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, a group that Roth and David collectively refer to as the Filipino Rough Riders. Roth and David also create artworks related to their research, including the site-specific series, We Are Coming, that installs the names of the Rough Riders on historic marquees. During their tenure as fellows, Roth and David will explore the potential for marquee installations in Maine, drawing out trans-regional connections between the Rough Riders and the numerous Maine locations that hosted Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows in 1900, including Biddeford, Lewiston, Bangor, Dover, Augusta, and Portland. Additionally, Roth and David plan to produce a speculative archive that blends fiction and reality through created ephemera and “documentary” evidence of Filipino history in the United States. Roth and David’s fellowship will take the form of iterative visits to Colby College over the course of a year, with opportunities for faculty, staff, and surrounding community to engage with their scholarship.
Image: Enzo Camacho, Ami Lien, Brian Smith, Yumi Janairo Roth, and Emmanuel David.