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Janet M. Purdy

Janet Purdy Palmer Headshot Cropped

Janet Marion Purdy is the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow in Arts of Africa at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her research examines symbolic imagery and inscriptions on ornamentally carved doorways and thresholds in the Indian Ocean world, and related visual affinities in Afro-Arab-Asian artistic production and exchange. She is especially interested in the transmission of talismanic designs in their diverse protective functions across different mediums including textiles, jewelry, and woodworking. Janet was co-curator of African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting at the Palmer Museum of Art (2020) and assistant curator for At Home In Africa: Design, Beauty, and Pleasing Irregularity in Domestic Settings at Galleries at Cleveland State University (2014). Publications include catalogue entries in African Brilliance (2020) and Speaking of Objects: Arts from Africa at the Art institute of Chicago (2020) and “Carved Designs and Thresholds in Indian Ocean Visual Affinities” in Verge: Studies in Global Asias (2022).

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