Opening Reception for Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience
Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience presents the work of nine New York based artists who employ a range of visual strategies to manifest multiple dimensions of the contemporary Muslim experience. Of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African-American descent, these artists grapple with complex, hybrid identities. While drawing upon such areas of inquiry as mythology, spiritual philosophy and ritual, science, and social and political history, these artists are largely unburdened by the themes and forms that have come to symbolize recent art concerned with Muslim culture - the veil, calligraphy, or the events of 9/11, for example. Rather, they draw broadly on their identities as members of disparate diasporic communities, as immigrants, and as participants in the contemporary art discourse, to navigate and express identities that are fluid, layered, and engaged in a rigorous questioning of both tradition and contemporaneity. In their explorations of the specificities of cultures and communities they claim as their own, these artists bring new frames of reference toward a broader and more nuanced understanding of a world whose boundaries are increasingly porous.
The exhibition features installations, photography, sculpture, video, performance, painting, and drawing by Morehshin Allahyari, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Mona Saeed Kamal, Baseera Khan, Asif Mian, Umber Majeed, Nsenga Knight, and Nooshin Rostami; and is presented in conjunction with Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s art installation at Brooklyn Historical Society.
Beyond Geographies is a component of Muslims in Brooklyn, a major public art and history project of Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). Through this exhibition, public programs, oral histories, educational curriculum, and other initiatives, Muslims in Brooklyn aims to preserve and amplify the histories and experiences of Muslims in our borough.
The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, Chief Curator at BRIC. It will be accompanied by a catalogue with two essays: Sara Raza, a New York based independent curator and former Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa will discuss the art and artists in Beyond Geographies. Zaheer Ali, Oral Historian at BHS and Director of the Muslims in Brooklyn project, will provide an overview of the histories of Muslim communities in Brooklyn. Public programs will include gallery talks and artist performances at BRIC House, and a panel discussion moderated by Sara Raza with several exhibiting artists at the Brooklyn Historical Society.