18-SEP-23 – 17-OCT-23
Further Down the Line is pleased to announce its third presentation, an exhibition by Afghan Canadian artist Hangama Amiri, opening 18th September 2023.
Amiri’s practice centres on the use of textiles and fuses together separate yet associated techniques of painting and printmaking. Much of her work weaves together layers of fabrics in a palette of bright and gemstone colours and makes a significant contribution to the legacy of feminist craft. Whilst her work’s materiality platforms topics of gender and identity and seeks to provide commentary of its role in the context of art history, her use of fabrics has as its roots a more autobiographical interest – her mother taught her to sew, and her uncle was a tailor. Her past is also significant in her choice of subjects – buildings, streets, and bazaars – all of which reference her upbringing in Kabul where she lived before her family fled in 1996, moving across several countries and eventually immigrating to Canada in 2005.
"While living in the West, I've continuously been interested in questioning what diaspora or diasporic experiences mean to me, and how they hold shape, or present space and time. I have been invested in searching, reminiscing, reconciling, and finding personal belongings that contribute to ideas of home. Seeing the Jamila Henna package reminded me of the henna celebration gatherings I had growing up with friends, cousins, and family back home in Afghanistan, Peshawar, Pakistan, and in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The product brings familiarity in its advertisement and specific feelings of nostalgia, joy, and celebratory memories. These packages were sold in the streets, markets, or bazaars, renouncing the objects not only by a female name, Jamila but also by belonging to women-owned beauty products, such as haircare, tattooing body or hands with floral design ornamentation. Traditionally and historically, henna links its origin between the Middle East, North Africa, and India—a native plant and dyeing ingredient used in wedding ceremonies for centuries across Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures. Over time, the product has become a tradition used for wedding ceremonies or Eid celebrations and a popular natural ingredient that can be used as part of our beauty and well-being daily routines. For me, depicting such visual materials in my textile art is also a challenge in Western art's hierarchy of the still-life genre. These representations of everyday objects have not been seen, studied, or valued in the context of art history. My simple gesture of holding, caring, and zooming for observation is a way to embellish the product's value and its familiarity in the diasporic communities.” (Hangama Amiri)
Hangama Amiri holds an MFA from Yale University where she graduated in 2020 from the Painting and Printmaking Department. She received her BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a Canadian Fulbright and Post-Graduate Fellow at Yale University School of Art and Sciences (2015-2016). Her recent exhibitions include A Homage to Home (2023) at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (2023), Sharjah, UAE; Reminiscences (2022) at Union Pacific in London; Henna Night/ Shabe Kheena (2022) at David B. Smith Gallery, Denver, CO; Mirrors and Faces (2021) at Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto; Wandering Amidst the Colors (2021) at Albertz Benda, New York, NY; Spectators of a New Dawn (2021), Towards Gallery, Toronto; and Bazaar: A Recollection of Home (2020) at T293 Gallery, Rome, Italy.