Events > Opening

08 Apr. 2006

Opening for Jamelie Hassan's Orientalism & Ephemera

Jamelie Hassan
2 pm - 5 pm

Art Metrople is pleased to announce the opening reception for Jamelie Hassan’s Orientalism & Ephemera on Saturday April 8. Hassan will be attendance, giving an artist’s talk about the exhibition at 3 pm.

Many of Jamelie Hassan’s projects have referenced her personal connection to the Middle East. The works presented in Orientalism & Ephemera in particular draw on Hassan’s reading of Edward Said’s ground-breaking book Orientalism (1979). Today increasing confusion throughout the world in relation to Arab and Muslim identities continues and has generated rigorous interest in Hassan’s long held concerns. This exhibition presents a selection of the artist’s collection and helps elucidate the significance and context of her cultural production, as well as that of other artists.

Through souvenirs, pamphlets, postcards, catalogues, travel and commercial items, documents & photographs, Jamelie Hassan explores this idea with a focus on this “Orient”, creating an installation with material collected from the cultural spaces of Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Vienna, Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona and Toronto and London, Canada.

The exhibition points to the attraction and presence of the “east” within our everyday experience. For many artists this awareness presents a way to counter the violence of today’s conflicts. Much of our contemporary cultural exchange is in response to the repeated violence of the politics of empire-building projects that attempt to colonize the spatial, disempower the colonized and destroy cultures. In Orientalism, Said brought home the Orient, not as a threatening other but as “an integral part of European material civilization and culture”. Hassan’s focus on ephemeral artifacts reflects this closeness and presents a modest alternative method to examine the innumerable manifestations of Orientalism.

The idea for orientalism & ephemera was proposed to Art Metropole in 2004 and initially involved the idea of a selection from Hassan’s archives, which she calls the The Centre for Baalqisian Studies. The exhibition has expanded to include some works and projects by contemporary artists, Luitgard Eisenmeier and the Café Nil, Vienna, Johanna Kandl, Vienna, Lisl Ponger, Vienna, Stan Denniston/Jamelie Hassan, Toronto, London, Ont., Ron Benner, London, Ont., Farouk Kaspaules, Ottawa, Duncan de Kergommeaux, Chelsea, Québec and Julie Sando, Windsor.

Born in London, Ontario, on September 1, 1948. Lives and works in London, Ontario.

Political conflict, social activism and cultural displacement are some of the themes woven through the work of Jamelie Hassan. Whether using watercolour, photography, ceramics or installation, Hassan heightens awareness of one’s sense of geographic, societal and political location, while also suggesting the fragility, tenuousness or relativity of any such sense. Early watercolours reproduce rejection letters relatives received from Canadian immigration officials. Later, during the first Gulf War, Hassan made a billboard of a photo of she had taken in Iraq in the late 1970s, adding the text “Because… there was and there wasn’t a city of Baghdad.” Born to Lebanese immigrant parents in London, Ontario, Hassan studied art in Rome, Beirut and Windsor. Though grounded in the regionally focused London art scene of the 1960s—and having co-founded key area art centres Forest City Gallery and Embassy Cultural Centre—Hassan’s perspective has also been shaped by lifelong international travel. A recipient of Governor General’s Award, Hassan has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario, among other institutions.

  1. Jamelie Hassan’s Orientalism & Ephemera