Exhibition ‘Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: an American and Flemish Dialogue’

Inauguration of the Photo Exhibition on 7 April 2010

Exhibition "Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue"%%%__[from 8 to 23 April 2010 - read more
Exhibition “Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue”
from 8 to 23 April 2010 - read more

The exhibition consists of 46 human scale photo portraits, several series of photos illustrating intangible heritage practices, videos and a film developed by the Documentary Arts. Transatlantic cooperation is the major topic showcased by this exhibition, and through it, affirming the importance of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for the sense of continuity and collective identity it provides to communities in the 21st century.

  • Photo exhibition: 8 – 23 April 2010
  • Venue: Salle des pas perdus, UNESCO Headquarters
  • Organizers: Intangible Cultural Heritage Section of UNESCO in collaboration with Documentary Arts and FARO
  • Contact: Reiko Yoshida, r.yoshida@unesco.org (+33 (0)1 45 68 43 95)
  • Address by Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO (English)
  • Address by H. E. David Killion, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the United States of America to UNESCO (English)
  • Address by H. E. Nic Vandermarliere, Representative of the Flemish Government to France (English)
  • Address by Mr Marc Jacobs, President of FARO (English)
  • Address by Mr Alan Govenar, President of Documentary Arts (English)
  • Media advisory

Documentary films screening (UNESCO Cinema)

8 April 2010
» 13:30-14:30: Screening of the documentary films “Texas Style” on country fiddling and “Black on White/White and Black” on the barrelhouse blues of Dallas pianist Alex Moore
»18:30-20:00: Presentation/performance by Mr Michael Doucet and screening of the documentary film”Everything But the Squeak” on a Cajun boucherie in Louisiana
9 April 2010
» 13:30-14:30: Screening of the documentary films, “The Tones In Between” on Palestinian musician Simon Shaheen in New York and “Little Willie Eason and Talking Gospel Guitar ” on the development of the sacred steel style of music in the House of God church
»18:30-20:00: Screening of the documentary film “Master Qi and the Monkey King” on the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company in New York City

2010, the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures

Henry Gray is blues pianist and singer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

2010, the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures celebrates the equal dignity of all cultures and seeks to promote mutual respect and cooperation for lasting peace through dialogue. Central to UNESCO’s mission to foster cultural diversity, the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage promotes, through international cooperation, “reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity”, one of the four themes of the International Year. The act of recognition is a fundamental cultural process that determines whether communities, groups or individuals embrace expressions, practices and representations as elements of their intangible cultural heritage. The exhibition “Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue” explores the various facets of that act of recognition.

Documentary Arts and FARO

Qi Shu Fang of Woodhaven, New York is a performer of Peking opera, which combines song, dance and acrobatics in a specific form that dates to the 18th century.For more than twenty years, the troupe she founded with her husband Ding Meikui, the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company, has staged full productions in New York City and across the country.

This exhibition is an outgrowth of the long-term engagement of photographer, filmmaker and folklorist Alan Govenar and a non-governmental organization, Documentary Arts, with the National Heritage Fellowship program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the United States of America. Through that program, which is based on the Japanese concept of ‘Living National Treasures’, the NEA each year honors a number of American folk artists selected for their contributions to the nation’s vast cultural mosaic. When FARO: the Flemish Interface for Cultural Heritage in Belgium learned of the NEA program, thanks largely to Govenar’s systematic documentary research, a fruitful transatlantic dialogue began. Like the rest of the world, Flanders today faces two major challenges with regard to its living heritage: implementing an appropriate policy and practice for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in the 21st century and cultivating visibility, awareness, dialogue, diversity and sustainable development. Alongside new international developments yielded by the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, interesting older programs are being re-discovered, examined, combined and appropriated as potential sources of inspiration, reflection and development.

Genesis of “Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue”

“Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue” features photographs by Alan Govenar depicting some of the 300 National Heritage Fellows recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1982 as well as individual bearers of intangible cultural heritage from Flanders identified through informal discussions and practices. Viewing these people from both sides of the Atlantic together in a single exhibition, we are invited not only to reconsider preconceptions about cultural identities, but also to reflect on continuity, transfers, exchanges, and transmissions in the living heritage of communities, groups and individuals. This exhibition results from, and gives new impetus to, efforts to stimulate broader reflection and discussion in Flanders and the USA on the implications, significance and power of research, documentation and other aspects of safeguarding, cultural brokerage, recognition, appropriation, and negotiation in the 21st century.

“Recognizing Our Cultural Heritage: An American and Flemish Dialogue” is presented in cooperation with the Section of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO with support from Documentary Arts, FARO, the Flemish Community, the Florence Gould Foundation, and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.