Today is a day to celebrate museums around the world! Museums are knowledge centres, with an amazing ability to educate informally. The exhibitions they show help open the eyes of visitors to new themes. Most exhibitions are developed by the museum itself, but sometimes they bring in something from an external source - this is called a touring exhibition.

When you think of a touring exhibition, usually a blockbuster show comes to mind - something that will sell loads of tickets with a big name like Picasso, Hockney, Vermeer, Da Vinci or Hopper. But if we list the names of the top billing artists for touring exhibitions, it is not a particularly diverse list of names.

Touring exhibitions can also help museum audiences connect with new themes that champion diversity, equality + inclusion, from around the world. By importing a show rather than curating it yourself, the narrative will be provided in a different voice that might be of interest to your audiences. Considering proposals directly from the artist, may provide a different perspective as well.

Here are a few of our favourite touring exhibitions that champion themes of diversity from our platform!

1. Position as Desired: Exploring African Canadian Identity

Collaborate with Toronto-based art collector and curator Kenneth Montague to explore the history, movement and experiences of black Canadians through contemporary photography. As a highschool student to emigrant parents from Jamaica, working as a volunteer tour guide at the North American Black Historical Museum (now the Amherstburg Freedom Museum) Montague learned that African Canadians have a rich cultural heritage – one that wasn’t being taught in his Canadian History classes. Years later, Montague began exploring contemporary art that examined issues of race, gender, memory, migration community through his personal art collecting.

2. “Nous et les Autres” / Us and Them: From Prejudice to Racism

The Musee National D’Histoire Naturelle in Paris brings an exhibition looking at the origins of prejudice, the history and the current situation. What are the mechanisms that “produce” racism in terms of categorization and hierarchisation? When did the ideas of a hierarchy of races evolve? And what do present-day scientists and geneticists say about it?
Powered by knowledge and backed by science, this interactive show helps viewers understand prejudice in context.

3. The Other Faces: Masks + Identities in Latin America

Diversity is also about exporting narratives from their original context and sharing them with the world. The Museum of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art from Uruguay is looking to increase international dialogue about the geography, history and stories of Latinamerica through an exhibition of masks. The masks are instruments that hide the face but share revelations of human, animal or imaginary configurations that the culture cherish and use to manifest their identity.
This exhibition uses vibrant, exciting visuals to demonstrate the diverse, rich tapestry of cultures coming from the South American continent.

4. Body Beautiful:Diversity on the Catwalk

What is beauty? A touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland explores the canon of beauty and how the fashion industry is changing as it celebrates the diversity of perspectives on beauty and the initiatives that are raising inclusivity.
This exhibition looks at the work done by designers, models, stylists, photographers, editors and educators to change the perspective and champion alternative ideals of beauty on the catwalk.

5. Biblical Stories

Photography renders exactly what is in front of you, but the medium can be used to allude to more - to deeper meanings. That’s what Iranian-born, Israel-based artist Adi Nes has done in this series, currently being toured by the Ben Uri Museum in London. He explores some of the most controversial issues with a camera, portraying scenes from his home in Israel to the world.

The Ben Uri Museum is a champion for exhibiting the stories of immigrants and refugees, starting with the Jewish refugee artists in Britain from the 20th century but continuing to today.

6. Tears of Paradise

Hong Kong born, British based artist Gordon Cheung is touring five paintings in “Tears of Paradise” that depict aerial perspectives of real and part prophetic landscapes, each relating to specific sites in China that collectively comprise the largest infrastructural project in human history. The sprawling cityscapes are rendered from satellite imagery, destabilized by the overall compositions, which feature floating cities below glimmering constellations that mark out future geopolitical maps, such as the “One Belt One Road” trade route.
The pieces look at unstoppable progress and the framework of identity, history and culture that defines the individual. Audiences think about the greatest paradigm shift the world has ever seen from different points of view.

Log in to the Vastari platform today for free, to contact the exhibitions in this article and many more for partnerships. By hosting touring exhibitions, your institution can participate in the global discourse and import new narratives.

Happy International Museum Day!