The Northern Illinois University Art Museum opens All We are Breaking are Stones, an exhibition of work by Chicago artist Shaurya Kumar who reflects on loss, destruction, iconoclasm and marginalization. The raw materiality of his installations combined with the representation of architectural forms suggest ruin but are layered with notions of transformation and narrative. This show opens with a public reception on Thursday, April 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that includes an Artist Gallery Talk with Shaurya at 6 p.m. in the Rotunda Gallery.


Shaurya Kumar. Pittu. 2016. Foam, handmade paper with cotton and abaca, methyl Cellulose, rubber, wool fleece, thread, chalk. (48 x 96″) stacked. 30.7″ ball diameter. Installation documentation courtesy the artist.

His subjects, both local and global, focus on imagery and themes of decay and destruction, especially the remains of buildings. These works offer a glimpse into the fate of relics that have succumbed to harsh natural elements, the passage of time and blows of human neglect. Shaurya ponders, what becomes of these landscapes as new meanings are superimposed over older, original histories and their cultures? Shaurya commented, “I explore the ruins of ancient architecture and territories decimated by urban sprawl, human neglect and even greed. The works reflect on how our past that was once our identity and matter of pride are getting increasingly obviated, mutilated, and sometimes entirely lost.” While each subject reflects its past and story; gentle manipulation transforms these objects—they are assigned new meaning as they are interpreted into new images.

Shaurya’s exhibition draws reference from two sources—an 18th century poem by Meer Taqui Meer titled, “I am A Citizen of that Ruined Place,” that grieves the loss of Mughal culture in India to invaders and Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s 2001 orders to destroy ancient pre-Islamic Bamiyan Buddha statues. Both sources evoke a sense of destruction and loss of culture through conquest, occupation and human intervention. The exhibition runs through May 18th with a series of public lectures, programs, and Get-on-the-Bus excursions related to the show.

Public Events
Tuesday, March 27
OHANA Public Program
“Memory, Movement, Location”
Artist talk by artist/curator Nirmal Raja with light reception following.
5 – 6 p.m., Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center

Thursday, March 29
Public Reception for Reclaimed Baggage
5 – 6:30 p.m., South Gallery
Panel Discussion co-chaired by NIU Professor Kristen Myers, Director, Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality and guest-curator Nirmal Raja with artists from the exhibition.
6:40 – 8:15 p.m., Altgeld Hall 315

Thursday, April 5
Public Reception for All We are Breaking are Stones in Rotunda Gallery and Across Space and Time in North Gallery
5 – 7:30 p.m., North and Rotunda Galleries

Artist Gallery Talk: Shaurya Kumar
6 – 6:30 p.m., Rotunda Gallery

Friday, April 6
Get-On-The-Bus Trip │Private guided tour of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Bartlett
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., $$
Payment and Registration by April 2

Tuesday, April 10
The Namesake Filmscreening
Directed by Mira Nair, 2006, Drama, PG13
6 – 8:30 p.m., Montgomery Hall, Terwilliger Auditorium

Wednesday, April 11
“Religion Made Visible: The Traditional Sacred Art of India”
Lecture with Richard M. Cooler, NIU Emeritus Art History Professor
5:10 – 5:50 p.m., Altgeld 315

Thursday, April 19
“India: The Visual Landscape”
Horn, Please! screening and discussion with
Ola Giza, Associate Professor, Design and Media, Visual Communications, NIU School of Art and Design; and Shantanu Suman, Associate Professor, Visual Communications, Ball State University
5:10 – 6:30 p.m., Altgeld 125

Wednesday, April 25
Meet the Patels Filmscreening
Starring Ravi Patel, Documentary/Comedy, 2014, PG
6 – 7:30 p.m., Montgomery Hall, Terwilliger Auditorium

Thursday, April 26
“Influence and Impact” Americans who have traveled, worked and studied in India. Artist Slide and Sound Talks by Christine Lofaso, Professor and Division Head, Fine Arts Studio, Fiber; and Bart Woodstrup, Associate Professor, Design and Media, Time Arts, NIU School of Art and Design.
5:10 – 5:50 p.m., Altgeld 315

Saturday, April 28
Get-On-The-Bus Trip │ A Meeting of Two Seas 2.0 South Asian Hindi and Muslim music/dance/poetry at the Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago
1:30 – 11 p.m., $$
Payment and Registration by April 18

Tuesday, May 1
The Hundred-Foot Journey Filmscreening with Spice Mixing Demonstration
Starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Drama, 2014, PG
6 – 8:30 p.m., Montgomery Hall, Terwilliger Auditorium

Saturday, May 5
Open for Artigras!
NIU/DeKalb Celebration of the Arts
3 – 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 19
Get-On-The-Bus Trip │“Moods of Nayika” multimedia performance Mandala South Asian Performing Arts, Chicago
Art Museum Members Only – Join when you RSVP!
1:30 – 9:30 p.m., $$
Payment and Registration by April 30

Additional events may be added throughout the exhibition; continue to check for updates and additions online by visiting For questions or to register for these
Get-on-the-Bus Excursions please phone 815-753-1936.

About Shaurya Kumar

Shaurya Kumar

Shaurya Kumar

Shaurya Kumar currently lives and works in Chicago and teaches in the Department of Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute. Shaurya studied printmaking and painting at the College of Art in New Delhi, India before graduation with an MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He uses the media of print, drawing, sculpture and installation to explore objects, space, and the passage of time.


Also on view at the Art Museum through May 18, 2018:
Reclaimed Baggage
Group exhibition of artwork by South Asian American women that addresses displacement, identity and agency. Guest curated by Nirmal Raja.

Across Space and Time: Cultural Perseverance of Indian Heritage
Celebrates the living culture of India. Curated by the ART 656 Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation graduate students enrolled in the NIU Interdisciplinary Certificate in Museum Studies.

Exhibition Support:  Additional support came from Promod and Anju Vohra; Gurukrupa Indian Grocery and Copy Services; The Barbara Cole Peters Fund for the NIU Art Museum; Northern Illinois University’s Asian American Resource Center; Indian Student Association; Muslim Student Association; Visual Communications, Design and Media Division, School of Art and Design; Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality; the Interdisciplinary Certification of Graduate Study in Museum Studies and the students in the Art 656: Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation course with instructor Peter Van Ael; College of Education; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Artwork and objects for the exhibitions are on loan from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana; SepiaEYE Gallery, New York, New York; exhibiting artists and private lenders.

About the NIU Art Museum
Serving Campus and Community by Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art to Explore the Connections Made Through Visual Culture.

Part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts‘ vibrant and active arts community on campus, the Northern Illinois University Art Museum is a resource for the NIU campus, local community and beyond. The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, on the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drives on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Parking is available in the Carroll Avenue Visitor Pay Lot and metered spots in front of Altgeld Hall. Campus parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. weeknights.

The exhibitions and programs of the NIU Art Museum are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art
Altgeld Hall 116, First Floor, West End
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

 Gallery Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Thursday Noon – 7 p.m.; Sunday Noon – 4 p.m.; and by appointment for group tours.
(Closed on Easter, April 1)

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.