A voyage takes many forms, expressed in Middle Eastern painting, sculpture and video.
On April 20, the Museum of Anthropology will open a new exhibit called Safar/Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists. It marks the first major Canadian group exhibition of 16 internationally recognized contemporary artists from the Middle Eastern region. It is also one of the first shows in MOA’s new mandate to become a museum that reflects world cultures in both historical and contemporary terms.
Safar is the Persion word for Voyage. The title lends itself to universal themes of translation and travel that people from cultures all over the world can relate to. Life itself is a voyage, and this exhibition takes us on an imaginary journey, beginning with a map of the world. It focuses in on Eastern cities and explores the differences between regions, cultures and ethnicities. Geopolitical issues, immigration, and longing for home are common themes in these quiet, philosophical and thoughtful works.
The featured artists want to be known as individuals, rather than by their religion or nationality, but where the artists come from heavily influences their personal expression. Eastern artists have not often been represented in galleries or museums in Canada, but there is a long tradition of contemporary and modern art in the Middle East. In a city where so many people are from somewhere else, many of the themes of immigration and change may resonate with the people of Vancouver.
The exhibition includes a wide range of media, from painting and sculpture to video and audio installations. Fereshteh Daftar, curator of this exhibition, hopes that people come away from this show with a sense that the language of Eastern artists is a global language. Expanding our notions of the Middle East beyond repressed women or local violence, Safar/Voyage hopes to shift our perspective to a horizon of creativity and visibility.
This exhibition runs until September 15 and also features an ambitious roster of public, community and school events. Opening night is April 20, 7-10 pm.
The programming will also feature a MOA Global Dialogue on Nomadic Aesthetics and the Importance of Place sponsored by Wesbild Holdings. The MOA Global Dialogue will concludes with a special feature, “In Conversation with Jian Ghomeshi” in MOA’s Great Hall.
Sunday April 21 2013 – 1:00 pm
Museum of Anthropology I Free with museum admission
Dr. Fereshteh Daftari, curator of Safar/Voyage, discusses the themes of
Visit the Museum of Anthropology’s website.