Poetry/Art Exhibition/Keralan Poet Takes World By Storm/Stolen Poet’s Statue – Poetry News Roundup February 24th

We begin a new week here on My Poetic Side with a look at the museum exhibit combining art and poetry, the Keralan poet taking the literary world by storm, and the stolen statue of a poet.

Museum Façade Draped in Lifejacket

The neoclassical façade of the Minneapolis Institute of Art has been given a makeover of the colourful kind. The six Greco-Roman stone columns have been dressed in life jackets. In total, nearly 2400 life jackets in red, orange and blue have been used to dress the columns. From a distance, they look like confetti colouring the white of the building.

They are part of an art and poet installation that has been created using life jackets used by Syrian Refugees. The artist Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident who was himself a refugee has created the art piece which is part of the “When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration” exhibition. The lifejackets had previously been on display in 2016 at the Berlin Konzerthaus.

In the foreground of the exhibit the words from a poem “Home” which was written by Warsan Shire, the British-SomaLi Poet, are visible. Shire is the first-ever Young Poet Laureate for London. He has also worked on “Lemonade” for Beyonce.

Poet from Kerala Nominated for Prestigious Prize

MV Fabiyas, the poet from Kerala who was last year nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize, having won several of their weekly poetry prizes, has been nominated for this year”s Griffin Poetry Prize.


Fabiyas, who has only been writing poetry for the last 10 years, has written roughly 200 poems. His poem Language of Liquor has been nominated for the Pushcart prize by his publisher. He was also a nominee last year as well with The Tomb. His collection of poetry, Monsoon Turbulence, has been nominated for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize, one of the most generous poetry prizes in Canada. The shortlist is expected to be announced on 7th April 2020, with the winners being announced on 9th June.


India Wants Poet Statue Back

The Ashmolean Museum, which is located in Oxford has been asked by India to return a bronze statue with dates to the 15th century to them. The statue is of Tirumankai Alvar, a Tamil poet, and is believed to have been stolen from the Kumbakonam temple in Tamil Nadu at some point during the 1960s.

The statue was purchased at an auction in 1967 in London. The Indian high commission was informed in December, when it was revelaed that the museum had discovered there were some questions surrounding the provenance of the statue.

The museum purchased the statue in good faith from Sotheby”s when it was sold from the private collection of DR JR Belmont. However, police investigations in India suggest that the one they hold is, in fact, a fake which was put in place when the original was taken. It is unknown how the original statue came to be in the collection of Belmont.

Other Indian artefacts of a similar nature have recently been returned to India. These include an limestone sculpture from between 1st century BC and 1st century AD and a 17th-century bronze sculpture of Navaneetha Krishna.

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