International firsts and an extensive programme of activities

for Global Imaginations

8 May 2015

Museum De Lakenhal will host the exhibition Global Imaginations in De Meelfabriek in Leiden from 27 June – 4 October 2015. This international exhibition of contemporary art has been organised to coincide with the 440th anniversary of Leiden University. Twenty leading contemporary artists from around the world have been invited to share their vision of today’s globalized world. Six of these artists have chosen to create a new work inspired by the collections in Leiden’s many museums. These international firsts include works by Mark Dion, Ghana ThinkTank and Raqs Media Collective. Various themes tackled in the exhibition will be further explored in an extensive programme of activities that includes a conference for high school students, an artists’ dinner, a film programme, an academic symposium and the Lunä event.

International firsts

  • For his work The Natural Sciences (2015), Mark Dion (1961, New Bedford, MA, United States) was given access to the storage depot at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. From there he selected a number of unusual objects, making 3D-printed copies from which he has created a new, surreal cabinet of curiosities.
  • In preparation for Global Imaginations, Georges Adéagbo (1942, Cotonou, Benin) came to Leiden to be inspired by the city, De Meelfabriek and the collection at Museum De Lakenhal. His room-sized installation includes texts, objects produced by Adéagbo and Benin craftsmen, and objects found on the streets of Leiden and Cotonou. Adéagbo has also created an additional installation for Global Imaginations that can be seen in Museum De Lakenhal.
  • Marjolijn Dijkman (1978, The Netherlands) is fascinated by representations of the future that transcend culture and time. For Global Imaginations, she has created the installation Cultivating Probability, which came about as a result of research into ideas about the future in different cultures. The objects in the installation are interpretations of various objects selected from the collections of Museum Volkenkunde and the Afrika Museum because they play a role in rituals to predict or ward off the future.
  • For Go Forward, Andrea Stultiens (1974, The Netherlands) was inspired by a trilogy of books written by the Ugandan chief Ham Mukasa to describe the history of his country. The illustrations intended to accompany the text were never produced. Together with various Ugandan artists and Dutch and Ugandan art historians, Stultiens has finally created images to go with the stories.
  • Ghana ThinkTank, an initiative conceived by the American artists Christopher Robins, John Ewing and Matey Odonkor, presented problems gathered by the artists during a visit to Leiden in January 2015 to think tanks in various countries. The solutions proposed by these think tanks will be incorporated into an installation that builds bridges between seemingly incompatible components.
  • For their work Fever. Fever., which was developed especially for Global Imaginations, the Raqs Media Collection took an image from the Special Collections library at Leiden University as their starting point. The image in question is a photograph of a relief in a 12th-century Indian temple that illustrates a story from the Mahabharata, a famous Indian epic. The artists have associated the photograph with the rapid rate at which we are exhausting our natural resources. 

Extensive programme of activities

An extensive programme of activities has been organised in collaboration with various organisations in Leiden to accompany the exhibition:

  • Films will be screened at De Meelfabriek on the evenings of Thursday 9, Friday 10 and Sunday 11 July. The Leiden International Film Festival has made a selection of highly accessible films related to the themes of Global Imaginations. The exhibition in De Meelfabriek will be open until 10pm on these evenings.
  • A conference for high school students around the theme of ‘global citizenship’ will take place on Monday 7 September. The theme of ‘water’ will feature particularly prominently in response to Lucy and Jorge Orta’s water purification installation at De Meelfabriek that will purify water from the Zijlsingel canal to provide clean drinking water for visitors. The conference has been organised by Museum Volkenkunde and LeidenGlobal in collaboration with SCOL, Stichting Confessioneel Onderwijs Leiden.
  • On Tuesday 8 September, the Ortas will host a large dinner. Since 2000, the artists have been organising dinners for local dignitaries and inhabitants around the world as part of 70 x 7 The Meal. A hundred guests will gather at De Meelfabriek to join a discussion at one of the tables laid out by the artists with plates designed especially for the occasion.
  • An academic symposium is scheduled for 25 September. Museum and university professionals, artists, PhD and other students will reflect on the question of how contemporary art (the ‘global imaginations’) generates, questions and stimulates knowledge of the world around us. The symposium has been jointly organised by Leiden University and Museum Volkenkunde.
  • The Lunä event, devised by artist Marjolijn Dijkman and jointly organised with Museum Boerhaave, will take place on 28 September. Lunä is named after the ‘Lunar Society’, a society of British intellectuals founded in Birmingham in 1765 that met once a month by full moon to dine and discuss at a large oval table. Dijkman is reviving this tradition with anthropologist Peter Pels and his research group ‘The Future is Elsewhere’. The group will discuss visions and ideas of the future around a model of the historical table produced by Dijkman.

More information:


Global Imaginations has been made possible with the support of De Meelfabriek, Mondriaan Fonds, Stichting Doen, VSBfonds, Fonds 21, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Cultuurfonds BNG, Stichting Stokroos and Cultuurfonds Leiden

For more information, please contact:
Department of Public Affairs of Museum De Lakenhal
Minke Schat Tel. +31 (0)71 5165 360 / +31 (0)6 11 01 88 31 or pr@lakenhal.nl
Museum De Lakenhal, Oude Singel 28-32, Leiden

press kit

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