New Peeler art exhibit enriches DePauw’s cultural perspective

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The Red Sun is shining brightly on DePauw University’s campus this semester as a new exhibit opens in the Peeler Art Center. The gentle sound of traditional Chinese music fills the air as relics of Chairman Mao’s revolutionary implementation of the People’s Republic of China are honored in spectacle. 

Curator and Director Craig Hadley along with Sherry Mou, associate professor or modern languages, have spent the last few years collecting an array of propaganda posters, films and books that are being showcased in the exhibit. The various mediums of art included in the show encompass the mid-20th century Socialist Realism art movement, a style of art used widely during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

After the implementation of a new political framework known as the Chinese Communist Party, millions of propaganda posters and other art forms were produced under intense censorship, covering political, economic and social issues. From depictions of national unity and industrial prosperity to the honor and deification of Mao, The Red Sun in Our Hearts reintroduces the rise of contemporary China to modern Western society through an artistic lens.  

Hadley speaks to the unique perspective The Red Sun in Our Hearts has on Chinese Culture. 

“From a western perspective [the art] is a really interesting entry point into studying the revolution,” he said. 

This introduction of Chinese history and culture is sure to benefit DePauw and the Greencastle community as a whole. The Red Sun in Our Hearts gives an extensive overview of the history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution through various texts and documentaries.

Curator Craig Hadley highlights the educational and cultural benefits of the exhibit for students on campus.

“We’ve tried to do our best to contextualize [the exhibit] knowing that a lot of students aren’t familiar with this time period,” he said. “Since we have a lot of Chinese students that attend DePauw we thought it would be a nice opportunity to have a dialogue about a historical period that they might not even be familiar with.”

The exhibit included a plethora of student involvement, with curatorial and installation efforts from fifth year intern Taylor Zartman ’15 as well as Maddie Schroeder ’16 and Rachel Miller ’15. Zartman will be hosting a gallery lunch discussion on The Red Sun in Our Hearts within the next month. 

Perfect for an hour of historical and cultural enrichment, the exhibit is open and free to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.