The University of North Georgia will host an exhibition of the Bayeux Tapestry replica from Sept. 26-28 at the Convocation Center at the Dahlonega Campus. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. those days.
Part of the UNG Permanent Art collection, the replica is the only full-size copy in the United States of the famous embroidery that visually captures the story of the Battle of Hastings, a military conflict that turned the tide of British and European history in 1066. It was during this conflict Norman-French army of William, Duke of Normandy, defeated an English army led by Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson.
The replica will provide special opportunities for art history students to practice museum skills in art installation and art audience education. Students enrolled in ART 3500 Visual Literacy and Communication are training as docents who will lead visitors through the exhibit and guide them to enhance their understanding of the work.
“I am excited to be a docent because it gives me the experience of being able to explain the Bayeux tapestry to someone else based on my understanding and knowledge of it,” student Estephanie Perez said.
Along with 22 other docents, Perez, a junior from Cumming, Georgia pursuing a degree in art education, researched the tapestry and rehearsed her portion of the presentation.
“We are working in pairs and each partner will discuss about half of the story narrated in the replica,” Perez said. “I’m focusing on the second part, when the battle takes place. The first part is shorter but has more narrated events.”
Donor Judge Edd Wheeler and the artist, Margaret ReVille, intended the replica for student learning and education. The textile is 224 feet long and took ReVille took eleven months to paint in acrylic on cotton canvas in 1986-87. It was donated to UNG in 2014 after the College of Arts and Letters pledged to protect it from decay.
“The various investments and efforts that UNG made to preserve it shows our commitment to protect cultural assets in which we recognize a unique opportunity to fulfill our institution’s mission to educate,” Dr. Ana Pozzi Harris, UNG senior lecturer of art history, said. “The fact that UNG is a military college adds a distinctive level of connection with the work. While military strategy today differs greatly from how and why battles were waged in the Middle Ages, the replica provides comparative points that lead to fruitful discussion and learning.”
The Battle of Hastings and the Bayeux Tapestry are taught in core curriculum courses like World History I, Introduction to Art History I, and Art Appreciation, and in upper-level courses that discuss the Middle Ages, the history of illustration, and the history of the English language, and British literature.
Because UNG owns and will display the replica regularly, students will have a unique opportunity to directly observe an object that they typically learn about through photographs and hearsay only.
Student volunteers affiliated with the TimeFrame UNG Art History Club will participate alongside faculty in the installation and de-installation of the textile artwork in the Convocation Center concourse.
“These skill-building experiences are valuable assets that students can list on their resume and discuss in competitive internship interviews, enhancing the students’ self-confidence and professional abilities in the real world,” Pozzi Harris said.
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