Death and dying remain enigmatic concepts. They may signify finality, mortality or impermanence. At the same time, notions of death and dying inspire ideas of spiritual liberation and rebirth.
In October, academic professionals and artists will explore the intersection of the end of life with the fine arts during “The Art of Death and Dying” symposium at the University of Houston. The event runs Oct. 24 – 27 at UH’s M.D. Anderson Library.
“The Art of Death and Dying” is presented by the UH Libraries in partnership with Blaffer Art Museum, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, department of Hispanic Studies, Honors College and School of Art. Support also comes from the National Museum of Funeral History and Preservation Houston.
“Death and dying are a few of those rare universal themes that are explored extensively in all cultures,” said Catherine Essinger, UH associate librarian. “It offers an opportunity to connect interdisciplinary fields including the literary, visual and performing arts.”
The symposium’s presenters include professors and lecturers from across the globe. Featured panels and presentations include:
- Oct. 25: “Deathcare” by Jill S. Casid, professor of visual studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison
- Oct. 25: “The Importance of Place in Burial and Commemoration” by Donna Kacmar, UH professor of architecture; Martha Kondziella, professor at the University of Freiberg (Germany); Jason Sowell, assistant professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin
- Oct. 27: “The Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life and Family” by Ward Albro, senior lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio
- Oct. 25: “The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed” by artist Dario Robleto.
- Oct. 26: Film screening of Isaac Julian’s “Looking for Langston”
“All of the panels are arranged thematically, so that presenters from disparate disciplines can share their thoughts on the same stage. They will present papers, then engage in discussions with the audience,” Essinger said.
In addition to lectures and presentation, attendees will tour the National Museum of Funeral History, the Menil Collection, Blaffer Art Museum and the city’s historic cemeteries.
Registration for the “The Art of Death and Dying” is $50 and $20 for students. For details on how to register or for a schedule of symposium events, visit http://artofdeathanddying.blogspot.com/.