Ellen Pearlstein & Julia Sienkewicz

Monday, February 28, 2022–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Graphic image with '2021-22 Fellow Shoptalk' in white letters against a bright green background

Ellen Pearlstein
Preserving the Myths and Materials of Indigenous Featherwork

American Indian featherwork cannot be fully understood, cared for, or represented without working with Indigenous community members. California Indigenous featherwork is made by collecting whole birds or their feathers, and assembling them into traditional forms which reflect birds and their meanings and motions. Regalia is maintained and repaired, damages are trimmed, and feathers are added to achieve prominence in a performance. Regalia makers take care to protect the fugitive coloration of feathers. We learn through collaborations that Indigenous featherwork has three lives: the bird life cycle, cultural use, and the museum stewardship. Ellen Pearlstein will present her collaborative experiences that are informing her Rome Prize research, alongside her earlier study to better understand the way natural feather colorants behave upon light exposure.

Ellen Pearlstein is the Suzanne Deal Booth Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and professor in the UCLA/Getty Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials and Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Julia Sienkewicz
White Power in Flesh and Stone: a Transnational Allegory for the United States Capitol

This talk will focus on the sculptural allegory of “rising civilization” captured in a monumental commission for the East Front of the United States Capitol in the mid-nineteenth century. In it, Julia Sienkewicz will consider the issues of race and power at stake in these works within an international context, assessing the appeal of this allegory within the sociopolitical forces of the US approaching Civil War and the Italian peninsula during the Risorgimento. She will also offer some reflections on the context of interpreting public art at the Capitol in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Julia Sienkewicz is the the Terra Foundation Fellow in Modern Italian Studies and associate professor in the Fine Arts Department at Roanoke College.

The shoptalks will be held in English.


Space in the Lecture Room is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you plan to attend an event with a group of over six guests or students, please inform events [at] aarome.org with at least 48 hours prior notice so that special arrangements can be made.

Guests will be asked to comply with Covid-19 safety protocols for events:

  • Access to the Academy requires the presentation of a valid photo ID and a Super Green Pass
  • FFP2 masks are required when indoors, and temperature will be checked before entry
  • Visitor contact information may be shared for contact tracing

Please contact events [at] aarome.org with any questions.

Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than 40 x 35 x 15 cm (16 x 14 x 6 in.) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.