Transplant Eyes, Sep 10 - Oct 22, 2016 co-curated with John Schuerman, Instinct Art Gallery, Minneapolis, MN Featuring the art of Katayoun Amjadi, Rina Yoon, Nirmal Raja, Wing Young Huie, Nina Ghanbarzadeh, Xavier Tavera, Mika Negishi Laidlaw, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Fatima Zehra El Filali.
All artists use their work as a form of communication, a language, and a way of reckoning with the world around them. Transplant Eyes features a group of diaspora artists currently living in the United States who use the expression of identity as a means of engagement. Through a range of mediums and styles, these transnational artists explore what it means to be both an individual and an artist in a cross-cultural space. Their collective work is a contemplation of identity in various forms as it is formed, gained, lost, and reformed. With a sophisticated and multilayered approach, these artists participate in a critical exploration of controversial social issues.
Drawing inspiration from a personal ‘melting pot,’ the artists in this exhibit firmly occupy liminal spaces where notions of here and there, self and other, past and present are in constant flux. They interweave representations of local culture with symbols from their past to create psychologically intricate works of art that have aesthetic agency, yet thematically comment on their social surroundings.
Yet at this moment of dizzying globalization and worldwide turmoil, the experience of culture shock and disorientation from a continual shifting of values is no longer uniquely reserved for immigrants or artists. This now universal struggle to grapple with our expanding identities as global citizens under a new world order is reflected in the constantly evolving work of diaspora artists.
Transplant Eyes foregrounds new perspectives for this unfamiliar landscape in order to break stereotypes or perceptions for all audiences. Bringing together artists from around the world, this exhibit seeks to provoke an intercultural dialogue through a presentation of artistic stories of adaptation forging a new consciousness that is both universal and humane.
The title, Transplant Eyes, speaks to the newness –fresh eyes, new perspectives, an opportunity to grow as an individual; and it also speaks to the daily resistances (such as language barriers) and potential for non-acceptance by the host culture ( such as racism and denial of citizenship.)