Migration of Memory

February 17, 2017

Photo-based artist Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is an Indian from India, who lives near Providence’s India Point, and uses photography to relook at histories. She will discuss her creative journey as she explored the Athenaeum’s Special Collections and learned more about Rhode Islands’ long history with non-white immigrants. Through her exploration she found information stretching from Muslims in Rhode Island in the 1880s to the long history of Syrian Americans in Rhode Island to a map of the Underground Railroad in Fox Point. Matthew will connect the dots between how she came up with ideas to where it lead her as an artist, woman, minority, and immigrant in the United States.

Funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Open Sesame project brings together a diverse group of six artists/scholars working in different genres to research in the Athenaeum’s extensive collections.


Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is a photo-based artist whose work draws from her experience of having lived between cultures and being an immigrant in the USA. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and exhibited at SepiaEye; Museum of Art, RISD; Guangzhou Biennial of Photography, China; Tang Museum, New York; and The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Currently she is a Professor of Photography in the URI Department of Art and Art History and the director of the URI Center for the Humanities.

This program was sponsored by:
This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: Art History, Art, and Design, History, Special Collections