Sunday, June 5, 2016

Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East LACMA

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Islamic Art exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This exhibition features approximately 31 works by artists from Iran, the Arab world, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Northwest Africa.

The first installation that caught my eyes was The Water. Created by Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr in 2002, "Individuality is recast by time as the faces of Egyptian men, women, and children are briefly reflected in a puddle before a boot relentlessly stomps into the water, distorting, fragmenting, and transforming the images." The duration of the video is 5 minutes, it caught my eye as soon as I walked in. The erasure of ones image by such a violent force, the use of such a calming medium such as water, really creates an essence for the viewer. 

Another installation that caught my eye was Fallen Angeles, created by Iranian artist Hojat Amani in 2012. "This tragic angel, dressed in the guise of a modern young Iranian woman, appears to have literately shattered in her fall to earth; the other remaining sign of her former status- her wings, here formed of golden leaves- will soon blow away or merge with other fallen leaves." According to traditional Iranian Muslim belief, angels are with you from birth to death. After one recites their prayers, they must face toward both left and right to acknowledge the angels recording your deeds both good and bad. It caught my eye as well because the implication of an angel falling from grace, means one is not in God's good graces anymore.

Fallen angels, from the series Angels in Paradise

The last of the many pieces that caught my eyes was Untitled, from the series Listen by artist Newsha Tavakollan. The series is conceived by the artist as a series of imaginary CD covers for fantasy albums by woman singers. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have not been allowed to perform in public in Iran. The red boxing gloves, and the black hijab, while staring down at the camera on an empty street really catch the feeling of what the artist is trying to convey. This woman is a fighter, ready to change the system, yet also following the guidelines that are still the system.
Image: Newsha Tavakolian, Untitled, from the series Listen, 2011, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by the Farhang Foundation, Fine Arts Council, and an anonymous donor, © Newsha Tavakolian

I had the most amazing day at the Los Angeles County museum of art, without a doubt a day to remember.
Selfie with Deena
 "Fallen Angels, from the Series Angels in Paradise." LACMA Collections. Web. 05 June 2016.
"Islamic Art Now: Contemporary Art of the Middle East." Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Web. 05 June 2016.
"Speechless." LACMA Collections. Web. 05 June 2016.
"" Moataz Nasr (Artist) in Cairo (Egypt) from. Web. 05 June 2016.
"Entering the Public: Representations of Women in the Work of Newsha Tavakolian | Unframed." Entering the Public: Representations of Women in the Work of Newsha Tavakolian | Unframed. Web. 05 June 2016.

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