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Opening Thursday at the Ackland: Myth and Memory, Selected Works by the MFA Class of 2022

April 19, 2022

In Myth & Memory, five artists interrogate practices of history-making and history-keeping at the individual, institutional, and systemic level. Beginning with personal narrative, each artist engages a vocabulary of fantasy to make visible that which has been forgotten, obscured, or erased by white heteropatriarchal modes of dominance. Through intimate gestures and acts of subversion, they reframe the lens through which memory is archived to tell new stories from a restructured past. Their work imagines potential futures in which marginalized bodies are not under siege.

Participating artists are the five UNC-Chapel Hill Class of 2022 Master of Fine Arts in studio art candidates: Raj BunnagCharlie DupeeHugo LjungbäckPhượng Duyên Hải Nguyễn, and Stella Rosalie RosenMyth & Memory is curated by Laura Ritchie ’10 (BFA), a curator, arts administrator, and cultural worker in Durham; she is a founder and former executive director of The Carrack.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Maryanna & Will Johnson and The Seymour & Carol Levin Foundation.


Thursday, April 21, 7-8:30 p.m.
Opening Reception for Myth & Memory
Free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Animation Workshop with Stella Rosalie Rosen
Free; All Ages.

Saturday, April 23, 1-2 p.m.
Guided Tour of Myth & Memory
Led by all five MFA Candidates, with an Introduction by Exhibition Curator Laura Ritchie

Friday, May 13, 6-7:30 p.m., during the 2nd Friday ArtWalk
Print-Making Demonstration with Raj Bunnag
Free, All-Ages.

Every year the Ackland presents works by the Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts candidates in an exhibition selected by changing guest curators. The artists will also be displaying their thesis projects at other locations in the Triangle on the following schedule:

Phượng Duyên Hải Nguyễn and Hugo Ljungbäck at Anchorlight from April 9 to 30, 2022, with an opening reception from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, and a gallery talk from 4-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

Raj Bunnag, Charlie Dupee, and Stella Rosalie Rosen at LUMP from April 15 to May 22, 2022, with a gallery talk and screenings on the evening of First Friday, May 6.

Image credit: Phượng Duyên Hải Nguyễn, Vietnamese-American, born 1992, Nowhen, 2022, cotton threads, 64 x 45 inches. Lent by the artist.

New publication from PhD candidate Andrea Snow

March 21, 2022

PhD candidate Andrea C. Snow has published a new article in Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft. Titled “Distorted, Dismembered, Diffused: Rethinking the Body in Old Norse Material Culture,” it examines the strange and schematized bodies that populate Viking Age art.

From the late-eighth through the early-twelfth centuries, medieval Norse objects represented the human body in varying states of ambiguity. While the Latin West would establish conventions for representing figures that visibly asserted the emotive expressivity of the face and body to circumscribe the beholder’s expected emotional (and spiritual) comportment, the figures represented in medieval Norse art are lacking in physiognomic distinctions such as defined facial features or somatic expressions of emotion. If their anatomical configurations do not appear to convey behavioral codes, then what could they refer to? What cultural factors contributed to their distortion, and how were they read by their intended beholders? This article argues that such enigmatic bodies did not represent human anatomy as it appeared before the eye, but gestured to a broad, flexible, and supernatural corporeality that transgressed the divisions between divine, human, and animal of Latin Western art and thought.

You can read it online now via ProjectMUSE! (link for HTML-ing is here:

Borre-style disc brooch, Viking, 9th-10th c., found in Gotland, Sweden, now in the British Museum, London
Borre-style disc brooch, Viking, 9th-10th c., found in Gotland, Sweden, now in the British Museum, London

PhD Candidate Andrea Snow contributor to new textbook from Thames and Hudson

November 1, 2021

PhD Candidate Andrea C. Snow has been invited to contribute teaching materials to the innovative new survey textbook, The History of Art: A Global View: Prehistory to the Present (Thames & Hudson, forthcoming). 

A brief window into what this textbook will provide:
The History of Art: A Global View is the first major art history survey textbook — written by a team of expert authors — with a global narrative in mind. A chronological organization and “Seeing Connections” features help readers make cross-cultural comparisons, while brief, modular chapters (with on-page definitions) offer instructors unparalleled flexibility.

Andrea is excited to be supplementing the textbook with overview slides that feature the key concepts and works of art from two of its chapters. 

MFA Candidate Hugo Ljungbaeck receives multiple Public Humanities Fellowships

September 30, 2021

MFA Candidate Hugo Ljungbäck has received a Maynard Adams Fellowship for the Public Humanities from Carolina Public Humanities to work on his project tentatively titled “From the Pathé Baby to TikTok: 100 Years of Amateur Media Production.” He has also been awarded the HPG/NHC Humanities Futures Fellowship from the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative to work with the National Humanities Center to expand a local UNC undergraduate humanities mentorship program to liberal arts colleges across the nation. He’s delighted to participate in these fellowship programs, to get to know his cohorts over the next year, and to continue his advocacy for the humanities.

2021 MFA Art Prize

May 14, 2021

Congratulations to Vonnie “Quest” Smith for being selected for the MFA Art Prize. The prize is a $2000 gift from the graduate committee selected by an outside curator. 

This year our guest curator was Amy L. Powell, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign, IL.

Amy L. Powell on Vonnie Quest for the MFA Art Prize: “Vonnie Quest’s work advances a loving and layered aesthetic. His five-minute video Meditation on Migration / Opportunity Zone tracks narratives of Black American movement and experiences of discriminatory development in Milwaukee by using found footagevoiceover, and visible signs of his research processQuest’s videosphotographic collages, and interventions with text offer multiplicityoverlaying family photo albums with city scenes and the kitchen table, for instance, but also by ensuring room for the spaces between images, and for what goes unsaid. Quest’s work communicates his clear position as someone within and committed to communityComplex and moving, Quest’s work honors how knowledge is shared through generations.”

MFA Candidate Alena Mehic a 2021 Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellow

May 11, 2021

Congratulations to MFA Candidate Alena Mehic, who has been chosen as a 2021 Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellow! Each fall, department chairpersons from MFA programs in painting and sculpture across the country are invited to submit candidate nominations. A committee of distinguished artists, curators and critics determines the fellowship. An average of 2-4 MFA fellowships each year are awarded.  Alena will receive funding of $15,000. You can read more about her work on the Dedalus Foundation website here:

PhD Candidate Andrea Snow book review published in Religion and the Arts

March 29, 2021

PhD Candidate Andrea C. Snow has published a review of Caroline Walker Bynum’s latest book, Dissimilar Similitudes: Devotional Objects in Late Medieval Europe (Brooklyn: Zone, 2020) in Religion and the Arts. Check it out here:

The editors have invited Andrea to be a repeat reviewer. She looks forward to working with them in the near future.

MFA candidate Vonnie Quest’s project Edible Heirlooms supported by the Southern Foodways Alliance

January 29, 2021
Congratulations to MFA candidate Vonnie Quest, who recently received a commission through the Southern Foodways Alliance to work on his project Edible Heirlooms. You will find more details regarding the SFA 2021 Spring Symposium here-
For this project, Vonnie plans to use an experimental documentary approach, using found archival material, family photographs, and recordings of conversations with families to create a short video that explores how recipes are archived and shared within the Black community. He will be investigating intergenerational dialogue as a means for preserving recipes, family histories, and identities. Vonnie will trace the roots of contemporary American food to West African cooking styles and recipes by exploring the continued practice of Black cultural customs and traditions long after arriving at the shores of the New World. He will be filming his aunt Faye in Mobile, AL as she prepares a pot of Gumbo and discusses the history of the recipe and her plans to develop a recipe list for future generations.

MFA Candidate Krysta Sa receives 2020 CES research award

December 14, 2020

Congratulations to MFA candidate Krysta Sa, who has received The Center for European Studies 2021 Jean Monnet Center of Excellence EU Research Award for her project “Ancestral Soak: Sea Bathing in the European Union.”