[LOS ANGELES-May 29, 2014] From a design perspective, what do we really know about the Arab world, or Iraq's neighbor, Iran? A window into these cultures, which use the Arabic script for writing and design, will open here in Los Angeles on June 26, 2014, when LOCAL NOT LOCAL, a modern collection of contemporary expression, brings Arabic and Iranian typography and calligraphy to the Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center. These days it seems like everyone's got a favorite font and a philosophy of typography. But it's not just our Roman alphabet that gets translated into different shapes - all over the world, designers pick and choose scripts to suit the occasion. In LOCAL NOT LOCAL, co-curators Maece Seirafi and Pouya Jahanshahi present a collection of award-winning Arab and Iranian designers who demonstrate the creative possibilities and expressions that lurk in their native alphabets.
"The map is not the territory," a phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski, is the lesser-known counterpart to Magritte's charming "This is not a pipe." Unlike "This is not a pipe"—an image that has been rendered safe by multiple reproductions and parodies, by now of little relevance unless you are an Art History major—the phrase "the map is not the territory" is charged with political and cultural meaning of the most subversive sort. This meaning inspires the upcoming exhibit at the Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center, curated by Jennifer Heath and Dagmar Painter. Go to exhibition page.
"The map is not the territory," a phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski, is the lesser-known counterpart to Magritte's charming "This is not a pipe." Unlike "This is not a pipe"—an image that has been rendered safe by multiple reproductions and parodies, by now of little relevance unless you are an Art History major—the phrase "the map is not the territory" is charged with political and cultural meaning of the most subversive sort. This meaning inspires the upcoming exhibit at the Inside/Outside Gallery, Levantine Cultural Center, conceived by Jennifer Heath and co-curated by Heath and Dagmar Painter.
One land, divided by walls and nomenclature like "annexed," "territory," "Manifest Destiny," until it is in bloody fragments. One people, divided by one thing, and then another, until they can barely recognize their own kin. Like blown dandelion seeds, people venturing out from their homeland, only to find themselves always looking backwards, and wondering how to retrace their steps. Such are the images and anxieties at the heart of The Map is Not the Territory: Parallel Paths—Palestinians, Native Americans, Irish.
In 66 works by 37 artists, The Map Is Not the Territory looks at relationships and commonalities in Palestinian, Native American, and Irish experiences of invasion, occupation, and colonization—not as novelty or polemic, but as history and current events. Although many peoples worldwide have suffered long and often brutal intrusions, Palestinians, Native Americans and the Irish have intersected for centuries in specific and often unusual ways. What are some of these intersections and how do contemporary artists examine and process them through their own lives and visions? The Map Is Not the Territory opened in 2013 at The Jerusalem Fund Gallery Al-Quds in Washington, D.C.—the first stop for this five-year traveling art exhibition, 2013-2018. See a Washington Post review of the show.
To help sponsor this exhibition, contact 310.657.5511, or contribute here.
Two American filmmakers/artists talk about the challenges and rewards of making films about women living their daily lives in Cairo and Damascus. Each of the films, made in very different styles, chronicle a period right before Egypt and Syria were gripped by revolutionary turmoil. Short clips from each film will be shown in advance of the discussion. The participants include artist Judith Barry on Cairo Stories (Egypt) (info-duration) and director Julia Meltzer on The Light in Her Eyes (Syria, Info-duration, co-directed with Laura Nix), with moderator Sarah Gualtieri, author of Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora and Director of the Middle East Studies Program at USC. Seating is limited, tickets are $15, $10 students/members. Watch The Light in Her Eyes trailer here.
The Inside/Outside Gallery at the Levantine Cultural Center presents دورود Dorood: New Art from Iran, with an opening reception on March 28, 2014. Dorood will be on view daily through April 27, 2014. This exhibition includes dozens of new and recent works from younger/underground artists working in Tehran and other cities in Iran, curated by Azeri-Iranian American artist Marjan Vayghan, who travels back and forth between her two countries and very much experiences life "being between worlds." Many of the artists in Dorood are showing work in the United States for the first time. The term "Dorood" is a formal ancient Persian term for "Hello" or "greetings" and was inspired by one of the artists, Elaheh Mahdavi, showcased in the exhibition.
Notes curator Marjan Vayghan, Dorood is not an exhibition about "saving Iran" or "giving Iran's youth a voice"; Iran and the youth of Iran are not apart of some entity that needs "saving." The artists in this exhibition, she points out, are not subalterns in need of exposure. Rather, the works showcased are extant of raw, pure talent and contain strength that can only be forged within the gears of adversity. Life in Iran's Islamic Republic presents many challenges to individual freedom of expression, yet Dorood recognizes the fact that these artists are in some sense already empowered and the exhibit therefore is a site for cultural exchange. Dorood is bringing the voices of young Iranians to the West so that we can benefit from the epic knowledge, perspective and audacious talent of Iran's youth. Gallery exhibitors are welcome to address comments and thank you letters directly to our artists.
An evening at the Levantine Cultural Center explores Pakistan and Pakistani-American identity, with special guest Shahan Mufti, author of the new book The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War. Joining Shahan Mufti in conversation are two other American artists born in Pakistan, actor/writer and comedienne Mona Shaikh and painter/animator and writer Adnan Hussain. After Shahan Mufti presents his book on Pakistan, the three young Pakistani Americans will engage in a free-ranging conversation on politics, immigration, identity and the arts. Everyone is welcome and a Q & A with the audience will ensue.
About The Faithful Scribe former US Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker has written, "If you want to understand Pakistan and the Pakistani-American relationship, read this book." Lesley Hazleton, author of The First Muslim and After The Prophet, writes, "After reading Shahan Mufti, a political junkie like me feels as though she's begun to understand Pakistan for the first time. Movingly and compellingly written, The Faithful Scribe is invaluable reading for anyone who's ever asked 'What's really happening there?'" The New Yorker notes that Mufti's "talent for explaining the political through the personal—particularly the 'tormented embrace' between his home countries—benefits from the uncanny convergence of his family's milestones with Pakistan's."
EXTENDED THROUGH MARCH 21. Influenced by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Picasso and Marc Chagall among others, Ramsey Chahine is a young and prolific artist whose work is playful yet often profound. His paintings express a love of life, as well as a passionate curiosity about the meaning of things. The Levantine Cultural Center's Inside/Outside Gallery is pleased to present THE POISON IS THE CURE, the first major California exhibition of the work of Ramsey Chahine, featuring more than 25 mixed media paintings and sculptures. The exhibition is available daily for viewing, Feb. 1-March 15, 2014.
Ramsey Chahine, a Lebanese-Palestinian American, was born in Redondo Beach, California. He currently works in New York City.
His aficionados in New York, Los Angeles and Dubai have alternatively compared him with Jean-Michel Basquiat and even Marc Chagall. But while Ramsey Chahine is young and prolific, he proclaims neither allegiance nor debt to a single inspiration. Playful yet often profound, Chahine's paintings express a love of life, as well as a passionate curiosity about the meaning of things. The Levantine Cultural Center's Inside/Outside Gallery is pleased to present THE POISON IS THE CURE, the first major California exhibition of the work of Ramsey Chahine, featuring more than 25 mixed media paintings and sculptures. A reception for the artist takes place on Saturday, February 1, 7-11 pm, and the show will be available daily for viewing, Feb. 1-March 15, 2014.
Ramsey Chahine, a Palestinian American, was born in Redondo Beach, California. He currently works in New York City.
Inside/Outside Gallery presents a new group exhibit, "MENA/VICEROY" as in Middle East/North Africa and viceroy, colonial ruler. The exhibit is organized by The Curatorial Practices class under the aegis of artist/professor Micol Hebron at Chapman University's Department of Art, in conjunction with the Levantine Cultural Center. MENA/VICEROY opens Dec. 12, 6-10 pm with a reception for the artists and runs through January 8, 2014. The exhibition aims to highlight dialogue from cultural producers of our time, addressing political and social issues pertinent to the Middle East today. Gallery hours 10 am-6 pm daily and evenings during regularly scheduled events.