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Visiting sculptor to discuss his work Jan. 27

In his 1988 "The Opera of Silence," sculptor Mel Chin paid tribute to human rights and the Tibetan people. A huge drum, like that used by the Beijing Opera, stood tilted up on one edge, propped at an angle by an elongated trumpet grafted onto the drumming surface. The horn, taken from a Tibetan ritual instrument, was made from a human thigh. On the underside of the drum was an image of the official seal of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Chin, a visiting consulting professor and artist in residence at the Art Department this year, will talk about this work and others at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in Annenberg Auditorium.

Playing the part of both poet and activist, Chin has spent his career addressing difficult contemporary political and cultural problems. His sculptures often focus on examples of oppression or cruelty in an effort to bring attention to conflicts.

A first generation Chinese American, Chin uses his observation of the collision between Asian traditions and American culture to generate politically eloquent and poetically sharp works of art.

In Revival Field, a 1990 project, Chin blended art and activism to collaborate with Rufus Chaney of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in designing a circular configuration for a reclamation project near a landfill near St. Paul, Minn. Combining landscape architecture and ecological experiment, Chin worked with art and science, planting hyperaccumulators, plants which metabolically extract metals from soil, in a contaminated plot of land.


By Diane Manuel

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