Event report: Tom Rankin Donation Celebration | Duke Kunshan University

Event report: Tom Rankin Donation Celebration

On Wednesday the 29th of May, DKU Library hosted a small event to celebrate the recent donation of photographs from Tom Rankin’s series Propitious Wind and Rain: Photographs from Kunshan. Rankin is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and Director of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University. His photographs were first displayed as part of Water Towns Environmental Film and Arts Festival, and were donated to DKU Library as part of the permanent library collection.

The event was opened by University Librarian Dr Helen Xu, who expressed the gratitude of the Library on receiving such a remarkable collection of photographs of the campus and the surrounds. Dr Xu described the collection, how it came to be donated to DKU Library, and what the collection means for the DKU community. Following Dr Xu, Professor Miguel Rojas Sotelo, visiting scholar at DKU and curator of the exhibition, spoke about the importance of collaboration in bringing cultural events and collaboration to campus, and encouraged everyone present to continue to work together to bring beauty and inspiration to Duke Kunshan University.

Professor Tom Rankin recorded a special greeting for the occasion, in which he describes how the photographs were captured and why he donated them to DKU Library. You can watch the video below:

DKU Library would like to thank Professor Rankin for his generous donation, and Professor Rojas for his expertise and enthusiasm in curating the collection. This is a wonderful addition not only to the DKU Library collection, but to the cultural life of the DKU Community.

About the collection:

[From: https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/documentaryarts/exhibits/Rankin]

Propitious Wind and Rain features photographs made by Tom Rankin in and around the new Duke Kunshan University campus in Kunshan, China, in the fall of 2016. While there, Rankin taught documentary film, participated in campus life, and explored Kunshan neighborhoods on his tricycle, 8x10 view camera in tow. Rankin focused on photographing the social and cultural landscape particularly, “the ways in which culture, business, and daily life are perpetually in negotiation with land and water.”  

A photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist, Tom Rankin has been documenting and interpreting American culture for over twenty years. His books include Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (1993), which received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography; 'Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre': Photographs of a River Life (1995); Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain (1997); and Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (2000).  He is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and Director of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University.