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Steve Christensen

Third Annual Exhibition of the James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection at LUMA

CHICAGO, November 22, 2010 – This December, a Chicago holiday tradition continues at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) with Art and Faith of the Crèche. The exhibition, which is made possible by a major gift from the James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection, begins Saturday, December 4, and runs through Sunday, January 16, 2011.

The James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection, assembled over a 30-year period, comprises more than 500 Nativity scenes from around the world. The collection includes crèches from more than 100 countries and cultures, including works by Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Taoist artists. This year, the exhibition will include beloved crèches from past years as well as more than 50 crèches that have not yet been on view at LUMA.

“This exhibition is one that we all look forward to each year and with a collection of more than 500 crèches and Nativities to draw from, each year is a different presentation,” said Pamela Ambrose, Loyola’s director of cultural affairs. “How the crèches came into the Govan Collection is fascinating-the Govans established a network of friends around the world who were on the lookout for that special artisan. As an example of ecumenism in the collection, the Malawi crèche was made by a Muslim artisan who was trained under the auspices of a Catholic cultural center and was then acquired by a Jewish friend who gave it to the Govans. Each of the crèches has a personal recollection and special story.”

The exhibition demonstrates how both western and non-western cultures interpret the Nativity through the inclusion of local architecture, clothing, animals, and materials. The range of expressions is diverse-from Haitian metal figures to delicately modeled baroque sculptures of Italy to the Asian dress of Thailand.

James Govan, who worked in economic development for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and his late wife, Emilia, traveled extensively building their collection. Today, Mr. Govan continues to collect crèches and seeks out rare examples from countries not yet represented in the collection. He has also written a book based on the collection, Art of the Crèche, which is available in the museum gift shop.

Public Programs:

Opening Reception for Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan
Friday, December 3, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
LUMA Members and Loyola Faculty, Staff, and Students: Free/Non-Members: $15

Please RSVP for by sending an e-mail to luma@luc.edu or calling 312.915.7608.

Meet the Collector
December 4 at 11:15 a.m.
LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue

James Govan began collecting crèches with his late wife, Emilia, in the 1970s. To date, they have amassed more than 500 crèches from over 100 countries and cultures. Stop in and enjoy this informal tour with Mr. Govan as he discusses his favorite pieces and the stories behind them. The event is free with museum admission and is open to the public.

About LUMA
The Loyola University Museum of Art, celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first, second, and third floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!



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