Ornamentation has been described as ‘portable culture,’ and ceramics as a ‘pilgrim art,’ with decorative patterns that are markers of geographical regions, cultural groups, and historical eras moving around the world on small ceramic vessels through the mechanisms of trade, colonialism and migration. The artists in this exhibition reference patterns and ornamentation often found in ceramics, but through their exploration and transformation of these patterns in other media, they create works that serve almost metonymically as emblems of migration, cultural exchange, and hybridization.
Sanaz Mazinani’s Persian Architecture series originated from her travels in her native Iran. The project explores the relationship between cultural heritage and contemporary cultural production.
A diaspora can be described as a group who maintains a myth or collective memory of their homeland. Diasporic communities need to have a constant amidst the displacement felt as a result of their move. With this need for continuity, nostalgia for the past sets in. The desire is not only for returning to a geographic location, but also to a temporal past, a particular time in one’s history. However, without transformation, the production of visual culture will be frozen anachronistically. By photographing these architectural sites, and then visually manipulating and digitally contemporizing her source, Mazinani imagines the future of tradition, and in the process recontextualizes visual culture for a new generation.
Diyan Achjadi works with the language of the decorative, and its social, historical and economic histories. She is particularly interested in printed pictures and in how the popularity of particular patterns and images that circulate at a given time reflects narratives of colonialism, conquest, cultural appropriation and hybridity. Her work references details from 18th- and 19th Century porcelain paintings and textile designs, medieval bestiaries, Chinoiserie imagery, Javanese batik patterns, combining them into large-scale drawings and print that explores visual residue of the colonial enterprise to seek moments of cultural cross-contamination.
Esfahani’s art practice navigates the terrains of cultural translation and explores the processes involved in cultural transfer and transformation. Her installations focus on the translation in its etymological meaning as the process of ‘carrying across’ or ‘bringing across’ and Homi Bhabha's notion of the Third Space as a site for cultural translation. Her paintings incorporate traditional Persian script within a modern composition. While the essence of the calligraphy predominates and reveals an Eastern origin in her work, forms, lines and texture attest to a Western abstract influence.
Community consultation sessions with artist Sanaz Mazinani
Saturday, July 23 and Saturday, August 13, 12 – 4 pm
Do you have a patterned or decorated ceramic object that has traveled with you or that represents your home or history? Artist Sanaz Mazinani would like to photograph it and apply the image to create a new art work! To participate, email email@example.com with your preferred day and time.
Saturday, July 23, 1 pm
Pattern collage workshop with artist Soheila Esfahani
Saturday, August 13, 1 - 3 pm
This exhibition is generously supported by Square One Shopping Centre | Oxford Properties and features an installation in the new luxury wing of the Centre.