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.
Twelve Gates Arts is proud to host the first ever extensive survey of contemporary Bangladeshi art, curated by Aicon Gallery in New York. The exhibition features nine artists collectively exploring the complex and interlocking cultural, political, economic and environmental issues currently facing the often paradoxical and rapidly changing society and state of Bangladesh in the new millennium.
Twelve Gates Arts presents a collaboration between Lahore-based multimedia artist, Mohsin Shafi and Pakistani-American artist, Sa'dia Rehman, which will open with a reception First Friday, May 2nd from 6:30 - 8:30pm. The works explore taboo subjects, visually manifesting sometimes ambiguous inner worlds as a way to challenge the status quo. Both artists draw inspiration from their own lives as a means to inspire viewers out of any isolation in theirs.
Twelve Gates Arts presents a solo exhibition by Pakistani-American artist, Hiba Schahbaz. The current series titled "American Beauty" - of mostly miniatures featuring a solitary, nude female figure - is concerned with self-identification, although Schahbaz does not consider them to be self-portraits in a strict or autobiographical sense. She is more concerned during her process with theoretical analysis and seems to employ the female figure as more of a symbol of her own awareness that inevitably we can only approach objectivity through our individual and specific experience.
Twelve Gates Arts is pleased to present H1B, the latest exhibition from curator Masum Momaya of the Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project. The result of a national call for art submissions, H1B includes pieces in various media including film. The works explore the trajectories, technicalities and tumultuous emotions of immigrants living and working here in H1B as well as H4 visas.
This exhibition at Twelve Gates Arts marks the centennial of Indian (hence South Asian) cinema. Even in its silent beginnings, starting with Raja Harishchandra in 1913, drama and literature were the dominant subjects and bases of film. Fine arts such as painting and sculpture may have niche audiences who consider their own aesthetics to be more refined than that of the wider public, but cinema is one art form that enjoys broad popularity. At least, we can state with confidence that drama, literature and cinema all share a spirit of entertainment, where the audience undergoes an experience driven by narrative storyline.
Philadelphia, PA – Twelve Gates Arts returns with a group exhibition of works by Nepali artists. “Namaste Nepal” will run from September 6 - October 12, 2013 with an opening reception First Friday, September 6 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The exhibition was curated by artist and educator, Kathryn Hagy. Six artists are featured in the show: Asha Dangol, Hitman Gurung, Mekh Limbu, Supriya Manandhar, Ashmina Ranjit, and Binod Shrestha. All grew up or came of age during the political turmoil existing in Nepal since the 1990s.
Twelve Gates Arts invites you to explore the breadth of contemporary text-based art being produced through the work of ten South Asian artists. The artists embody the written word into their work, such that it is not just the main ingredient, but also the medium. The treatment of text as image goes back to early Islamic history, as well as being a theme in many other calligraphic traditions, not least that of East Asia.
Twelve Gates Arts proudly presents this collaborative exhibition, which comes to us from Australian artist Damon Kowarsky and Pakistani artist Atif Khan. Khan invited Kowarsky to collaborate in 2011 and the result are 20 “hybrid” prints created from their visual correspondence across continents. Each print stems from the layered drawings bearing both artists’ touch ~ which combine gracefully in imagery that is at times ironic and uncanny.
The upcoming exhibition at Twelve Gates Arts comes from independent curator, Jasmine Wahi. The show, which took original inspiration from Mira Nairʼs 1988 film, reaches beyond the specificity of Mumbai as a place, investigating different facets of “the city” in general. In December, Wahiʼs Salaam Bombay was featured in ART ASIA Presents, the curatorial and educational program at the premier International Asian art fair, ART ASIA in Miami.