Schatten van/in mensen

Organized by Documentary Arts, Inc.


July 18 – August 31, 2010, Openluchtmuseum, Bokrijk, Belgium
July 19, 2010: International Colloquium: Visibility, Awareness, Dialogue. Leren van elders: de VSA
September 11 – October 24, 2010, Stedelijk Museum, Aalst, Belgium
November 4 – 23, 2010, Treasury of St. Peter’s, Leuven, Belgium
November 27 – December 12, 2010, Stadshallen (Garemijnzaal), Bruges, Belgium
December, 2010, Dendermonde, Belgium
January – March, 2011, Boudewijn Building, Brussels, Belgium
February, 2014, De Markten, Brussels, Belgium


Schatten van/in mensen is an outgrowth of the long-term engagement of Alan Govenar and Documentary Arts with the National Heritage Fellowship program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). 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.

Schatten van/in mensen features photographs by Alan Govenar depicting some of the over 350 National Heritage Fellows recognized by the NEA 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.

Schatten van/in mensen 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.

For more about FARO, visit their website.