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Paper Is People: Decolonizing Global Paper Cultures

Paper Is People: Decolonizing Global Paper Cultures, co-curated by Tia Blassingame and Stephanie Sauer, offers a new definition of paper­ within a global and decolonial framework. Featuring works by local, national, and international artists, this exhibition explores the vital role substrates play in human communities and how meaning is made from what we might call paper and papermaking.

Viewed together, the works on display seek to open a conversation around what paper is across cultures today: a vessel for collective memory, a body, a site of meaning, a living ancestor, and a form of cultural survival and resistance. Our ideas about paper are linked to how we value traditions of language, know­ledge production, creative expression, storytelling, and history. Many of us think of paper as thin sheets fashioned from fibrous pulp, but this understanding leans heavily on European applications and usage, with its roots in ancient Chinese technology and centuries of violent occupation, enslavement, and trade.

Relevant research areas: Book arts, Papermaking

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