Tue, November 5, 2013 7:00 pm at Julie Meneret Contemporary Art
Artist Talk with Zakaria Ramhani and Maymanah Farhat
“When I returned home to Tangier after spending eight months living in France, I began writing on the canvas rather than painting on it. I no longer painted pictures; I wrote portraits.”
~ Zakaria Ramhani
Alwan for the Arts is pleased to announce an artist's talk and discussion with Moroccan Painter Zakaria Ramhani to commemorate the latest demonstration of his artistic talents in the form of the exhibit, May Allah Forgive Me, showcasing at Julie Meneret Contemporary Art from November 6-December 22.
Artist Talk with Zakaria Ramhani at the Julie Meneret Contemporary Art Gallery
Date: November 5, 2013
Location: Julie Meneret Contemporary Art Gallery
133 Orchard Street New York
Open and free to the public
About the Exhibitiion
May Allah Forgive Me is a two-part exhibition comprised of reworked large-scale portraits incorporating traditional Arabic calligraphic form superimposed on emblematic and well-known, media-popular figures. which at once negotiates the religious ambivalence towards human representation on figuration and, additionally, provokes a multifaceted contemplation in relation to commodified media imagery.
Growing up in Tangiers in an artistic household, Zakaria Ramhani's father was a landscape painter who rarely and reluctantly painted commissioned portraits May Allah Forgive Me refers to a sense of ambivalence towards the subjective representation of human figures that haunts both the artist and his paintings. Each person who reads this title is uttering a prayer-a potent inward linguistic constructions.
About the Artist
Inspired by recent political activism in Egypt and the Middle East, Ramhani has caused controversy by questioning religious tradition and denouncing violence. Authorities at Art Dubai censored Ramhani’s You Were My Only Love (2012) for its depiction of police brutality in Tahrir Square. Ramhani altered the famous image of the “blue bra woman,” who became a symbol of Egyptian protest against extreme military power, showing her struggling against gorillas as Vincent Van Gogh looks on disapprovingly.
For this exhibition, Ramhani continues to incite reflection by altering well-known media imagery. His series of famous dictators in a state of childhood anonymity points to a kind of impossibility of obtaining truth through representation. His paintings are also deeply personal—as will be reflected in Volume 2—meditating on the ways that language impacts configuration of identity. What can be conveyed about subjectivity hovers between text and image, between the system of language and the individual’s dream of a cohesive self. His current works use Arabic, sometimes juxtaposed with French and English, by superimposing letters, words and phrases to create layers of readable and non-readable matter that are shaped into vibrant and mesmerizing faces.
In 2006, Zakaria became the youngest person from his country to receive a bursary from the French government to participate in a creative residency at the Cité Internationale des arts in Paris. He has exhibited throughout Europe and the Middle East, including at The Barbican Centre London, Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, The British Museum at the DIFC Dubai, and The Cairo Biennial.
Maymanah Farhat is a New York-based art historian who has written widely on modern and contemporary Arab art. Her essays and reviews appear in Art Journal, Callaloo: Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, and ArtAsiaPacific magazine, among others.From 2006 to 2009, shewas the West Asia editor of ArtAsiaPacific magazine's annual Almanac, covering the year in art for fourteen Middle Eastern countries. She is currently co-editor of Jadaliyya Culture and a curatorial advisor to the Arab American National Museum.
Exhibition Times at Julie Meneret Contemporary Art
Zakaria Ramhani, May Allah Forgive Me, Vol. 1 and 2.
Exhibition: November 6-December 22
Vol. 1: Opening Reception: November 6, 6pm
Vol. 2: Opening Reception: December 4, 6pm
Last updated: 2013-10-30 16:10:25
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