Spotlight on Alumnus: Veljko Dujin

Veljko Dujin, Curator of Collections at the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens and FIU alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and Art History as well as a Master of Arts in Asian Studies, recently worked with collector Riva Lee Asbell to organize an exhibit and create the catalog for a collection of Japanese paintings, calligraphy and ceramics. The catalog, titled Zenmi: A Taste of Zen: Paintings, Calligraphy, and Ceramics from the Riva Lee Asbell Collection, features over a hundred pieces of artwork that were exhibited at the Morikami Museum from October 18, 2011 to January 22, 2012.

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Dujin worked closely with the collector, suggesting new acquisitions, introducing her to dealers, and advising her about making acquisitions. “The whole collection will be bequeathed to the museum. It is interesting to see how a personal collection is being developed in contrast to an institutional one,” he says. Dujin and Motoki Sakamoto, Assistant Curator at the Morikami Museum, conducted most of the research for the catalog.

This process involved reading, transcribing, and translating the text, as well as indexing all of the seals (of which there is an entire section at the end of the catalog). Tom Gregersen, Cultural Director for the Museum, also helped edit the text. Photographs were provided for the catalog by Jennifer Garcia, an alumnus of FIU who graduated with a Master of Arts in Asian Studies and is currently participating in the Japan Teaching Exchange Program (JET). The catalog, which spans 128 pages, is available at the Museum Store or at the Museum’s online store. For more information about purchasing the catalog, please click here.

Dujin’s job as Curator of Collections entails safekeeping artifacts in the Museum’s Permanent Collection (of which there are about 7,000), as well as overseeing the Museum Archives and Library. He focuses on processing new acquisitions, cataloging, research, processing loans, suggesting new acquisitions, managing records for catalogs, and creating and nurturing relations with collectors, donors and lenders, as well as other museums.

Several Asian Studies students have worked for or interned at the Morikami Museum. Wendy Lo, an FIU alumnus who graduated with a Master of Arts in Asian Studies in 2009, is currently the Adult Education Program Coordinator. She works with the Museum’s education programs and coordinates classes, workshops, lectures, and other special education projects, and also works with adult outreach programs in the community.

Asian Studies students who have interned in the Collections department include Jennifer Garcia, Nick Roma, and Fawn Coba, and in the Education department, James Rogers, James Fichera, Nicolle Garber, and Boris Escalona.