Thursday, August 27, 2015

What I Saw At the Aga Khan Museum

Along with the items in the museum's permanent collection (located on the main floor), I, accompanied by my son, took in the art assembled for Home Ground: Contemporary Art From the Barjeel Art Foundation, the work of 12 Arab artists, displayed on the second floor.

I guess we shouldn't have been surprised that, given the artists' provenance, this work would be imbued with a political message. For instance, there was the concrete volley ball, described in an article from a UAE newspaper linked to on the Barjeel Facebook page as
a sculpture of a sports ball made from reconstituted concrete from the Apartheid Wall in Palestine. It offers a poetic response to conversations held with Palestinian children playing by a section of the wall near Ramallah.
As well, we saw
the images from Larissa Sansour’s series Nation Estate, which offers a fantastical and futuristic response to the Palestinian situation. She imagines a skyscraper within which each floor represents a different city or area in the occupied land.
The artist was born in Jerusalem, but in a film that's part of the display she cannot leave the elevator on the Jerusalem floor, which, when the doors open, shows the gold-domed mosque; in another image, one of the series' photographs displayed on the wall, the mosque and its surroundings are seen through shattered glass. The implicit message: she, a Palestinian, is barred from a broken Jerusalem because of those awful rhymes with you-know-whos.
We also saw a small bronze sculpture encased in glass. "Oh, look," said my son. "That's the thing on the BDS logo."
And, indeed, it was.

Update: The CBC called the artwork "edgy." Good word, since much of it is double-edged.

Update: Shout out to the woman I saw in the permanent gallery wearing an "I Heart Jesus" T-shirt.

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