Landscape of Memory: Seven Installations from the Barjeel Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE)
In the Daley Family and Monan Galleries
January 30–June 4, 2023
Landscape of Memory presents installations created from 1998 to 2011 by artists Adel Abidin, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Marwa Arsanios, Mona Hatoum, Lamia Joreige, Maha Maamoun, and Basim Magdy. Drawn from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, the exhibition’s works probe questions of causes and effects of war, personal and national identity, exile and belonging, and memory and commemoration in films, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and multimedia displays.
In Cairo, Basim Magdy’s My Father Looks for an Honest City reenacts a stunt of ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes the Cynic that features his own father and Maha Maamoun’s Domestic Tourism II splices together decades of video footage of Giza’s pyramids. Baghdad sets the scene for both Sadik Kwaish Alfraji’s The House My Father Built, a large-scale visualization of the artist’s first painful visit home following his father’s death, as well as Adel Abidin’s rumination on the lonely consequences of war in his Memorial. Lebanon’s Acapulco beach resort and the streets of Beirut are host to Marwa Arsanios’s and Lamia Joreige’s respective installations that recall false promises symbolized by modernist architecture and the rupture of violence on the cyclical nature of time. The lights of Mona Hatoum’s Plotting Table raise the specter of conflict on an international scale. With roots in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Europe, and the United States, the artists provoke reflection on what it means to remember and the often unstable landscapes these memories inhabit.
The exhibition is accompanied by a Portal in the third-floor Monan Gallery hosted by Shared_Studios in which groups can engage in real time, immersive conversations with other Portals in refugee camps and arts centers across the globe. To learn more about the Portal and discover ways to connect with classes or individually, visit bc.edu/artmuseum/portal. Between scheduled Portal appointments, visitors may view recordings of previous sessions.
Organized by the McMullen Museum in conjunction with the Barjeel Art Foundation, the exhibition has been curated by Kathleen Bailey. Major support for Landscape of Memory has been provided by Boston College and the Patrons of the McMullen Museum. The Shared_Studios Portal has been underwritten by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, the Islamic Civilization and Societies Program, and the University Council on Teaching of Boston College.
Barjeel Art Foundation, founded by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, is an independent, UAE-based initiative established to manage, preserve, and exhibit an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art from North Africa and West Asia. With the guiding principle of fostering critical dialogue with a focus on artists with Arab heritage internationally, the foundation strives to create an open-ended inquiry that responds to and conveys the nuances inherent to Arab histories beyond borders of culture and geography.