People Carrying Things across Cultures


Hosmer Gallery, Forbes Library, , Northampton, MA


Woman carrying metal pots and dishes (Mali, West Africa) Palanquin looking for passenger!  (Longi, China) Carrying baby to market (San Juan de Chamula, Mexico) Grandma with her twins (southern China) Santa Pub Crawl Weekend (New York City) Swallowed (Sikkim, India) Old woman carrying flowers for the Day of the Dead Festival (Patzcuaro, Mexico) Daily Chores (Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea) Buried in balloons (Queretaro, Mexico) What’s on YOUR head? (Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea) Swathed in color (Zinacatan, Mexico) Man carrying a bundle of sticks on bicycle (Madagascar) Small red figure engulfed in green (Sikkim, India) Holi (color) Festival (Calcutta, India)  Monks carrying alms bowls (Myanmar)  Everywhere in the USA: Christmas and Hanukah gifts Brilliant burst of color for Day of the Dead festival (Patzcuaro, Mexico) Carrying masked figure for the Tsechu Festival (Paro, Bhutan)  Hindu Blessings-to-Go (Mumbai, India Timkat festival (Axum, Ethiopia) Virgin of Guadeloupe returns from a procession (Mexico) Boy carrying taro plants on a pole (Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea) Woman balancing her broom (Toliara, Madagascar) Pretzel seller (Erezum, EasternTurkey) My banana girlfriend (Uganda) Fish for dinner (Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea) Fast food on the beach  (Ngwesaung,Myanmar) Oranges by the road (Papua New Guinea) Bandicoot Soup! (Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea) A juggling act (Morocco) So many clay pots!  (Mingun, Myanmar) Buy my blankets (Uganda) Hard labor at a construction site (Delhi, India)6 Female camaraderie (Jaipur, India) Woman carrying pole with baskets of plants (China)	 Piggy-back (Yangshou, China)

People Carrying Things across Cultures, comprising 36 photographs from 13 countries, was on view at the Hosmer Gallery, Forbes Library, Northampton, MA from July 2-30, 2013.

The photographer, a world traveler, started to notice the interesting ways and objects that people carry around the world and thought it would make an interesting theme for an exhibition: who carries what, why and how. She culled through her archives for interesting material and now makes a point of observing people carrying things as she continues her travels.

It seems so simple. After all, we all carry things, but people from different cultures carry different things in different ways. People carry with their hands, shoulders, backs and heads. Starting with pregnancy, women carry other people. When a child is born, he/she rises up to the arms, back, or shoulders. In most cultures women carry children, but Dane noticed that in Madagascar men were often seen carrying their children. People carry animals, both for food and as pets. They carry umbrellas, packages and wares they buy or sell. The homeless around the globe carry everything they own. On the opposite end of the spectrum, well-off people carry objects for recreation. Dane notices a lot less of this in third world countries whose inhabitants don't have much time for leisure.

In our society we carry our groceries in plastic, brown paper, or nowadays "green" bags. We carry backpacks, pocket books and consumer purchases placed in smart, colorful shopping bags sporting a store or brand's logo. In third world countries Dane notices that the head is often used for carrying - mostly women's heads. She realized that she could design an entire exhibit around people carrying things on their heads. At a train station in rural India she watched how coal was loaded into the engine. Men would supervise the women and load the heavy coal into a basket on the women's heads. The women would then carry those heavy baskets to the engine, walk up a few stairs and tip their heads to spill the contents in the appropriate place and then walk back to the men to be loaded up for more. In another Indian work site she watched the same situation, this time with stone for building material.

The layout of the Hosmer Gallery enticed Dane to group her pictures into different themes. She organizes 5 themes: people carrying food; carrying for work; people carrying other people; carrying for religion/religious festivals; and finally a section she calls OMG. She hopes to further develop these themes and explore the theme of carrying for leisure.



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