The show, curated by Twelve Gates’ Atif Sheikh, brings together a group of artists whose work responds to and explores the many aspects of violence in contemporary society. By referencing the aesthetics of the past, each in their own way, the tradition of depicting violence in art becomes evident; as applied to contemporary issues, the aesthetics call into question the tradition itself. As we as a global society become increasingly aware of the destructive, divisive outcomes and less convinced by the narrative in favor of the necessity of engaging in conflict, the tradition of depicting violence in art reflects this almost traumatized, fragmented reckoning. The pieces seem to seek to slow down the process of conflict enough to understand it and perhaps choose a different conclusion.
Twelve Gates Arts will showcase a series of mixed-media pieces from North Carolina-based artist Saba Taj. The works visualize the inhabitants of a fictional, but relevantly apocalyptic ideation of the future - with an empowering twist. The delicacy with which Taj treats the “strange” manifestations leaves one with a sense that they are nurturing the visualized forms into the present.
“In of beast | of virgin I imagine a future where the oppressed inherit the earth. Generations ago, the powerful fled by way of spaceship, leaving the rest to die and calling it “the end of the world.” But the world did not end. Those left behind transformed in their earthbound existence, evolving with a changing planet through a rapid process of unbecoming and hybridization. The boundaries between species, gender, bodies and environment collapsed,
giving way to an interconnected and collaborative network of life forms. These chimeric life forms, or beasts of the earth, are the focus of my work. They are the embodiment of the in- between, of existing in motion -- uncontrolled, uncolonized, and with endless adaptive possibilities.” - Taj
Saba Taj is a Southern Muslim artist and arts advocate based in Durham NC. Their work focuses on postcolonial hybridity, and they employ mixed media collage, sewing, performance and sculpture to illustrate the abundant in-betweenness of diaspora. Taj remixes cultural references from their South Asian, Southern, Muslim, and queer identities to illustrate stories of apocalypse and survival. Saba earned their Masters in Fine Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as Director of The Carrack Modern Art, a nonprofit community art gallery in Durham NC. Their work has previously been shown at 12Gates in the group show Masterminding Our Ordered Rage in May/June 2017.
Co-hosted by JACL Philadelphia & PAAFF
A series of 60+ original printed works connecting four distinct periods and the complex history of Anti-Asian racism in the United States - Chinese Exclusion Era in mid 1800’s, WWII Anti-Japanese Propaganda, the Auto Industry’s Japan Bashing in the 1970’s - 1980’s, and Post 9/11 Islamophobia in relationship to contemporary political rhetoric. By framing highly amplified contemporary issues such as Islamophobia as part of the larger historic trend, the show encourages viewers to consider historical precedents and their effects, and to think more critically about today’s (21st century) xenophobia.
Works come from the Collections of Rob Buscher and Cathy Matos, and Jamal J. Elias
STORIES OF REFUGE
TANIA EL KHOURY
September 6 - 28, 2018
Presented in partnership with FringeArts and Bryn Mawr College as part of ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury, an extensive survey of the artist's work
12Gates is proud to present Stories of Refuge, an immersive video installation that invites audiences to lay down on metal bunk beds and watch videos shot by Syrian asylum seekers in Munich, Germany. Tania El Khoury and Petra Serhal from Beirut-based Dictaphone Group collaborated with a group of Syrian refugees who had recently arrived in Munich. They provided each person with a discreet camera for a day, the only instructions being to film their lives in Munich and their favorite spots in the city. Tania El Khoury is a live artist whose work focuses on audience interactivity and is concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. She creates installations and performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. Tania’s work has been shown in five continents in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars. She works between the United Kingdom and Lebanon.
Major support for ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury has been provided to Bryn Mawr College by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Kushboo Kataria Gulati | Negine Jasmine Sekandari | Paradise Khanmalek | Niqabae
Curated by Sepideah Mohsenian-Rahman
June 22nd - August 12, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, June 22nd, 6 - 8:30 pm - featuring DJ Cardigan and Youth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Husnaa Hashim
A collective exhibit featuring diaspora artists from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, NAZAR is a love letter to oneself. A study on identity, power, pleasure, and protection - and the vulnerabilities inherent with each. The artists contribute pieces that decolonize perceptions of beauty, femininity, wisdom, and strength. Each artist peels away layers of neocolonial impositions rooted in proximity to whiteness, and centralizes an authentic self in resistance to trans-generational trauma, patriarchal paranoia, and intertwined imperialism. From nudes to niqabs, NAZAR showcases the present and future of radical brown imaginations.
Twelve Gates Arts presents a collection of works examining aspects of the contemporary experience of immigrants in the United States. The artists included have all studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and have all emigrated from the Middle East. Feelings of being alienated, controversies surrounding political views, identity conflicts, cultural traditions, and religious conflicts are all themes present in the works. The pieces in the show can be seen as a discussion of how the artists express cultural issues through their subjective experiences. Some of those issues are manipulated by either media or politics, and the artists have noticed instances when even the current art market has reshaped and distorted artistic narratives to suit a geographical audience and political climate.
Abdullah Qureshi | Aziz Sohail | Zulfikar Ali Bhutt
Opening Reception: Friday, March 2nd, 6 - 8:30pm
Twelve Gates Arts presents an original set of collaborative works by contemporary artists Abdullah Qureshi, Aziz Sohail & Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Qureshi, founder of Gallery 39K in Lahore and Bhutto, have previously collaborated as curators of a five-show series titled Is Saye Kay Parcham Talay (“The Shadow Over Our Flag”), 2015-2016, which aimed to create inclusive conversations around minority rights and marginalization in Pakistan. Bhutto is also currently co-curator of The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience, which has instigated a national conversation around the politics of self-representation in the arts. In 2017, Sohail was a South Asian Studies Fellow at Cornell University and was the curator of Islam Contemporary, 2013.
Opening Reception with artist talk: Tuesday, February 13th, 6 -7:30pm
Book Launch and signing with music by Al-Bustan Ensemble: Friday, February 16th, 6 - 9pm
12G and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture co-present a series of works by acclaimed graphic
designer, photographer and sculptural assemblage artist, Rajie Cook. Cook is the founder of
the graphic design firm Cook and Shanosky Associates, Inc. In 1984, Cook and his
colleagues were recipients of the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, and around that
time Cook took his first journey to Palestine. The trip catalysed his practice of peace activism
and activist art, which seems to have been incubated by his father’s deep emotional
connection to the ongoing suffering in the Middle East. After nearly half a century as a
graphic designer, Cook began exploring sculptural assemblage in 1999 to express his feelings
on a range of issues as visual statements.
Diaspora Letters is Beeta Baghoolizadeh’s first solo exhibition. Baghoolizadeh uses new media to illustrate her memories and the passage of time through black and white digital illustrations and gifs that invite viewers to visualize themselves in foreign-yet-familiar spaces.
As a historian of modern Iran, Baghoolizadeh’s work examines the past and the present, exploring banal environments that have been politicized in the current hostile political atmosphere. Her “letters” are purely visual, stripped of legibly written text to mimic the diasporic feeling of exclusion in different languages.
Beeta Baghoolizadeh is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is completing her dissertation on the history of abolition, race, and visual media in Iran. Born in Los Angeles to Iranian immigrant parents, she regularly returns to Iran to conduct research and visit family. She began drawing Diaspora Letters during her most recent trip to Isfahan and Tehran in the summer of 2017.
Humaira Abid’s new solo exhibition, My Shame, is her first on the East Coast of the United States. The artist’s wood sculptures, which often incorporate aspects of miniature painting are at times presented in the context of concept-based installation art.
With her global perspective, in this collection of works, Abid examines the shame that women feel over natural, social and cultural issues. By focusing on taboos and stereotypes that are rarely addressed in public, Abid aims to normalize them through dialogue and discussion. Abid believes that we can heal ourselves through sharing our story, as well as giving opportunity and courage to others. By exposing veils of secrecy over taboo subjects, viewers resonate with the relevancy to their own lives and experiences. As the shame dissipates, the healing can begin.
This group exhibition considers the work of artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia that address the enduring presence of the past. History is not something that is simply from long ago, safely tucked away like a box of old things in a storage room. It does not remain hidden until we decide to look through those objects and pictures containing so many memories. Instead it is all around us, cluttering our daily existence. In formerly colonized or occupied areas of the world, the previous rulers continue to impact life there albeit in transformed ways. They carry on like ghosts in the machine. Oftentimes they are given more significance than the current residents. Neocolonialism shapes global dynamics today in similar ways to the power relationships that existed before. By acknowledging the past, the artists in Back to the Future offer new images of a bygone era in order to shed light on contemporary times.
Twelve Gates Arts presents a solo-show by Jaret Vadera, a transdisciplinary artist and cultural producer whose multivalent work challenges viewers to explore the dynamic relationships between power, memory and representation.
Working across various media, Jaret Vadera creates complex, cerebral artworks that generate and celebrate multivalence, strategically deploying paradox, entropy, and translation to decolonize ways of knowing and seeing initiated by Enlightenment rationalism. To critique prevailing epistemologies, Vadera’s often plays with representational modes that commonly serve as proof, document or evidence: photographs, maps, infographics, x-rays, and FMRIs. He challenges the objectivity and authority attributed to these forms by consciously introducing glitches and aberrations, contaminating them with traces of subjective irreverence. - Murtaza Vali
Vadera completed his undergraduate education at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto and the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. He received his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University. He teaches courses on art, culture, and social practice at: Pratt Institute; Yale University; Brooklyn College; and Montclair State University. Vadera's piece I tell the truth, even when I tell a lie... was featured in the 1st 12G Experimental Contemporary Video Art Festival (2015)
‘What do the trees tell us?’ is an inquiry into Lahore’s identity as a city of gardens. Presented as a video diptych, it moves into the preserved gardens and the ruins of what were once gardens. The video’s narrative contemplates the significance of empire and colonialism, and the path that Lahore has embarked upon towards modernity. There are flexible shifts through time and space, reality and memory, past and present, dream and desire. As the video develops, we begin to feel the weight of history, memory, and nostalgia as it impacts those who live in the city of Lahore, and call it home.
Hira Nabi works with film, video, archival material, sound, and text to build layers of meaning out of every day events. She works with memory, nostalgia, and daily rituals as an aesthetic trope. Using the camera as a form of archiving, and as documentation of the continuous present, her work is hybrid in its splicing of narrative and documentary. She received an MA in media studies from The New School, and a BA in video and post colonial theory from Hampshire College. She lives itinerantly between Pakistan and New York.
Opening reception: Wednesday, June 28th, 6 - 8:30pm Philadelphia, PA
Sumesh Sharma brings to 12G this series of photographs from Mumbai-based artist Amol K. Patil. Patil is a performance and visual artist who graduated from Rachana Sansad Academy of Fine Art in 2009. The series of 13 photographs holds references to Dalit (”untouchable” caste) social justice movements and also Black Liberation movements, which partly inspired the Dalit movement. “Traditionally, the Dalits had practiced trades, working as leather tanners, cobblers, blacksmiths, funeral attendants, and musicians and folk performers. Patil’s family came from a long history of folk performers called ‘Powada.’” (from “Where Does That Put You?”: Artists’ Stories in Global Curatorial Practice, Sharma, March 2017)
Some of Patil’s performance pieces include adaptions of his father’s avant-garde unpublished plays, which deal with “issues like migrant labor and the city's textile industry...If [Amol’s] works are reminiscent of postwar European and American performance—Bruce Nauman's studio-bound walks of the late '60s and Samuel Beckett's movement piece Quad (1981) come to mind—it is not due to direct knowledge, [he] claims, but rather to the mediating influence of his father.” (Ryan Holmberg, Art in America, February 2014)
Sharma is an independent curator who co-founded the Clark House Initiative in Mumbai. His curatorial practice seeks to “help choreograph” a “role of scripting history” by showcasing the work of artists who have otherwise been excluded from traditional art history, which remains “quintessentially European and North American” as well as a contemporary art scene that operates through “infrastructures of privilege.” (Sharma, March 2017)
This group show is the culmination of a series of monthly workshops, which have taken place at 12G to encourage collaboration and live performance. Inspired by Yolanda Wisher's poem From Imhotep's Kundalini, the artists participating in this Art Intervention explore from diverse angles and mediums the devastating American landscape strewn with the detritus of Black lives. It is the same landscape of systematic yet coolly indifferent state violence against Black people that generations of South Asian Americans also call home, immigrant and non-immigrant. #BLM@12G hopes to unflinchingly explore the concrete difference in "context, experience and oppression" in the various Black and Desi lives at stake by examining the ways in which we collectively participate in [anti-Black racism], even unintentionally" and by exploring the interplay between Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements in the South Asian context. Opening to feature poetry performances. Works by:
Amina Ahmed | Komail Aijazuddin | Chuck Alston | Sarah Bloom & Mir Masud-Elias | Charles Burwell | Bryan DeProspero | Lynda Grace| Farha Najah | Amol K. Patil | Sean Plaskett | Maryanne Pollock | Daisy Rockwell | Fabian Rush | Sumesh Sharma | Saba Taj
Twelve Gates Arts presents two sets of recent collaborative prints between three Australian artists: Mathew Greentree and Kathy Heyward with Damon Kowarsky. Since 2011, Kowarsky has engaged in collaborative practices, and recently invited both Greentree and Heyward to revisit some of his work from his extensive travels. Both Greentree and Heyward are also experienced in collaborative practice. Kowarsky met both Greentree and Heyward through attendance at Victorian College of Arts.
Twelve Gates Arts will open its new space with a collection of Nandini Chirimar’s most recent set of small drawings, mixed media works on paper, using drawing, etching, watercolor and chine colle, and prints. Unwritten Wills takes as its subject the objects left behind by loved ones, through which discovered meanings connect the living and dead during the grievance process. At least partially motivated by having lost two loved ones in the span of one year, Chirimar seems to have been struck by the strange intimacy of, for example, “napkins folded exactly how she had left them.” In her musings of very thin lines, she has striven to convey the “depth and sometimes overwhelming presence of the human emotions that come with such events.”
Murad Khan Mumtaz, In the Cave, gouache on vasli, 2016
Lived Experiences brings together three artists - Bolo (artist duo Saks Afridi and Qinza Najm), Julius John Alam, and Vered Snear whose recent works revolve around performances of lived experiences of 'other'. The works each bring attention to the resultant 'borders' between entities - or even between states of being, and all seem to be motivated at least in part by social activism, while leaving any political or moral statements less clear. Some of the pieces have been presented in different places within different formats, but in every case the works are process-based with important elements of the affect coming from that process.
"God Particle is a collection of my most recent work, which includes drawings, paintings and a site-specific installation. I have always been interested in the idea of belief, and specifically in the appropriation of religious symbols and icons of faith to discuss non- religious concepts, such as statehood."
Another Day Lost is a series of installations by Syrian-born, UK-based artist Issam Kourbaj, inspired by aerial images of refugee camps and is made out of waste materials. Each installation is constructed from discarded books, medicine packaging and burnt matches. As one of the visitors in London commented: "Waste materials portraying wasted lives." The overall appearance is that of a refugee 'camp', made out of thousands of tiny paper and cardboard 'tents', some of which are marked with Kourbaj's distinctive black lines (based on Arabic calligraphy and traditional mourning ribbons), and encircled with a 'fence' of burnt matches.
How is the photograph a place of ruin, and a form of fabrication? In Ruins and Fabrications, the artists Annu Palakunnathu Matthew and Gauri Gill reframe the uses of the documentary and archival photograph. In its archaeological sense, a ruin is a site of excavation, a place relegated to a different time. Yet these same ruins shape the landscape of our present: we build over, layer upon, and live amongst ruins. Like the documentary photograph, a ruin is a material object that appears to capture the passage of time, only to tell us more about our present moment.
Twelve Gates Arts is proud to present perform(art)ive, a new performance art festival in the city of Philadelphia. Slated for October 25th, 2015, the festival will feature a dynamic ensemble of artists whose work will illuminate the South Asian-diasporic experience as well as the medium of performance art itself. The physical presence of the artists in the space and the effect that has on the viewer makes for an unforgettable and inspiring experience.
Ruby Chishti returns to Twelve Gates Arts with her first solo show at the gallery. Chishti is a sculptor who was born and lived much of her life in Pakistan before moving to the United States. She earned a BFA at the National College of Arts in Lahore; she also trained in sculpture and bronze casting at El Dorado Center in Placerville and at Art Foundry Gallery in Sacramento, respectively.
Antonio Puri is set for his second solo exhibition at Twelve Gates Arts, this coming month. The show will contain recent mixed-media works, including those from his Chandigarh series about his hometown in north India. Through his use of monotonous color, Puri evokes the concrete building materials prevalent in the town, which was planned and designed by Le Corbusier - the effect successfully communicates the type of subconcious suggestion of identity that Puri has stated he investigates and would like to challenge along with his viewers through his work.
Twelve Gates Arts invites you to explore the confluence of art and poetry in the work of Israeli-born New York-based artist Izhar Patkin. Patkin's 2014 retrospective at MASS MoCA featured his collaboration with the legendary Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali (1949 - 2001), with whom Patkin collaborated during the two years before Ali's death. Inspired by Ali's words, Patkin executed a cycle of spectacular mural-size paintings on gossamer tulle, entitled "Veiled Threats" (1999 - 2010).
Twelve Gates Arts is excited to present the latest group exhibition, ZABARDUST (Urdu for “fabulous, awesome”), from curator Jasmine Wahi. The title is a homage to fabulous and unconventional women with an undercurrent of female empowerment and self-ownership in the conceptual and real space of life. The exhibition is a somewhat abstract or ethereal follow-up on Wahi’s 2013 show The Least Orthodox Goddess, which exhibited at Gallery 151 in New York City and was a narrative about how a consciously empowered feminine energy would be and look. In that light, ZABARDUST can be seen as a sort of celebration of the experience of that kind of energy.