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ITALY & THE ORIENT A tangled history of traders, travelers, colonists, cout...

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Italian Cultural Institute

500 N Michigan Ave

Suite 1450

Chicago, IL

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ITALY & THE ORIENT
A tangled history of traders, travelers, colonists, couturiers, aristocrats &
refugees

a lecture by ALEX AUBRY, Director, The Fashion Resource Center at SAIC and Editor at Large, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia

From the time of the ancient Romans, to the Renaissance Medicis and the
couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, Italy has had a long and complex relationship with the
Near East and North Africa in particular. It is also a layered and often
misunderstood history that has recently come into sharp relief at a time when the
country is witnessing a rise in refugees and asylum seekers from lands it had
once colonized. Yet dig a little deeper and one will also come across stories of
fruitful cultural exchanges, unexpected encounters and a host of characters who
are the product of centuries of mixing. Strung together, they provide a very
different narrative about what it means to be Italian and a global citizen today.
Through the use of unconventional sources, that include vintage editions of
Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, this lecture will provide alternative narratives that
not only humanize the ‘other’ by highlighting our shared humanity, but open a
window onto centuries of cross-cultural encounters between Italy and the Orient
that have been pushed to the margins of history or overlooked by the mainstream
media.

Alex Aubry is the Director of The Fashion Resource Center at the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago, as well as the Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar
Arabia. He received his MA in Arts Administration and Policy from Chicago’s
School of the Art Institute and is also a Chicago-based curator, educator and
museum consultant focused on developing exhibitions bridging the West and the
Middle East. He has contributed to two books on museum development and
collecting in the Arabian Gulf Region. In addition, he has written extensively on
topics related to the arts, culture and design for publications such as Aramco
World, Brownbook, System Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Alex has
lectured at Chicago’s Art Institute, the Arts Club of Chicago, the de Young
Museum in San Francisco, the American Alliance of Museums annual
conference and the Chicago History Museum, in addition to serving as a visiting
assistant professor at Northern Illinois University’s School of Art & Design, where
he taught Museum Studies and Modern/Contemporary Art of the Middle East.

Free and open to the public.

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Italian Cultural Institute

500 N Michigan Ave

Suite 1450

Chicago, IL

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