Orientalism and Ephemera

October 23, 2008

“This is not a simple project,” she says. “It is reaching out to the community in different ways, trying to make it as open as possible. Flexibility was one of the strongest issues of the project. I don’t see that as a weakness. Elasticity for me, keeps it energized, opens up different possibilities. It’s an unending project.”

Changes and additions in the upcoming exhibition at the University of Saskatchewan’s Kenderdine Gallery include an ephemeral installation by Amira Wasfy, who often uses sand and organic materials from the Middle East in her work. Aganetha Dyck‘s honeycomb covered “oriental style” figurines will return to the exhibition with a new coat of beeswax after a season in the hives. A piece by Jeff Thomas deals with the depiction of First Nations and Asian peoples together on a single monument in London, England.

Orientalism and Ephemera also includes collected items, many of which were donated to Hassan as the exhibition developed and traveled. A late 19th century image by Ernest Normand, Bondage, depicts robed, dark men entertained in a tropical setting with a large stone Sphinx, a tiger skin rug, topless exoticized women and a white woman and child, modestly cowering in a corner of the frame. A contemporary Spanish advertisement for red pepper shows a woman draped on a bed in front of an obelisk. A fragile kite, like that of the book The Kite Runner, an installation of mirrors and lamps from mosques: these collected objects and images remind us of the “other narrative embedded in those modest actions” of everyday life.

“We’re all connected,” says Hassan. “There’s a certain linkage present in our lives. What we’re doing as artists is making that visible.”

Orientalism and Ephemera runs from Thu October 23 to Wed December 12 at the University of Saskatchewan’s Kenderdine Art Gallery with works by Diyan Achjadi, Abbas Akhavan, Ron Benner, Duncan de Kergommeaux, Stan Denniston, Aganetha Dyck, Luitgard Eisenmeier, Babak Golkar, Rawi Hage, Jamelie Hassan, Farhang Jalali, Johanna Kandl, Farouk Kaspaules, D. H. Monet, Fabiola Nabil Naguib, Garry Neil Kennedy, Lisl Ponger, Jayce Salloum, Julie Sando, N. Neal Solly, Sato Makoto, Rob Stevenson, Jeff Thomas, and Amira Wasfy.
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