Hossein Amanat, Hossein Valamanesh, Soheila Esfahani, Mandana Moghaddam, Neda Razavipour, Hamidreza Jadid, Nazgol Ansarinia, Arash Hanaei where/between
September 30 to November 26, 2017
Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG), Lethbridge
Curated by Pantea Haghighi
Opening reception: Saturday, September 30 at 8 PM
Reception sponsored by North & Company
Experiencing a subtle yet persistent sense of being ‘out-ofplace’ often drives one to seek security in a sense of consistency and normality. When short-lived, feelings of displacement can afford healthy readjustment. However, there are dangers in living through a permanent state of exception. What was once the anomaly becomes routinized, creating consistency within inconsistency itself. Here, the concept of belonging is thrown into unrest, ostensibly creating an irreconcilable situation – neither completely “belonging to” or “excluded from.” Yet, in moments of unrest we crave connection and stability, knowing how dangerously close we tread to chronic uncertainty. In a space between the exceptional state of affairs and hopeful idealism, is it possible to find the potential for transformation? Can we use the rupture to move between, or beyond, one state while cultivating another?
where/between conceptualizes the bridge as an underlying theme. At once a visual motif and a metaphoric analogue, it occupies a moment of disconnect as the artists unsettle notions of local and cultural belonging. As a physical conduit, a bridge straddles two places, providing safe passage. As a set of ideas, it evokes liberation, and interlinkage, constituting a mode by which impossible unknowns may be traversed.
where/between brings together works in video, painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed media by artists of common Iranian heritage. While not all the works explicitly reference Iran or Iranian culture, many of them explore what it means to be outsiders of one culture living in another. The exhibition challenges the repercussions of shared global capitalism and appeals the assertion that cultural imperialism is dwindling, all while juxtaposing techniques of cultural preservation and methods of solidarity. Analogy and contrast are used with optimism, endeavouring to draw attention to latent relations of resistance. It is through disequilibrium that these artists are unified.
A shared history of migration and a learned experience of intellectual, social, and physical fragility are common threads throughout. The artists respond to contemporary aesthetics of liminality as their collective bodies of work function as a movement between and beyond borders. Like civil war, insurrection, or resistance, these works situate themselves in a state of imbalance. Each artist’s practice functions as part of the bridge required to construct a path of dissent. The bridge both connects and reconnects, bringing about the very breeding grounds of discontent necessary for counteraction.
where/between is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. Funding assistance provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the City of Lethbridge, and Equinox Gallery.