Mixed media exhibit explores cultural values

(Contributed Photo)
(Contributed Photo)

Currently featured in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Robert Langen Gallery is Jamelie Hassan’s mixed media exhibit entitled Could we ever know each other…? Displayed are two mixed media works reflecting on issues related to militarism, cultural values and Canada’s role in international conflicts. Jamelie Hassan is an award winning artist with exhibits featured in both Canadian and international galleries.

The first piece in the collection, a work from 2013 entitled, Could we ever know each other…?, features a blown up photograph of the former Canadian $20 dollar bill with a maple leaf-shaped neon light hanging in front of it. The bill features a quote from Canadian author Gabrielle Roy, “Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?”, as well as images of Haida-inspired sculptural works by Bill Reid.

This visually striking piece immediately commands your attention as you enter the gallery.

“I think that’s one of the statement pieces… It draws you down,” said curator Suzanne Luke. The bill speaks volumes about Canada’s attitude towards culture and its recognition of indigenous peoples.

Poppy Cover, the second piece in the exhibition, comes from 2010 when Jamelie Hassan was invited by the London Ontario Live Arts Festival (LOLA) to create a piece responding to the military history of Victoria Park in London, Ontario. The work features 4,000 individual silk poppies woven into camouflage netting. The piece utilizes the design principle of contrast, placing delicate silk flowers over a rough netting.

Originally presented draped over a historic WWII tank, Poppy Cover lays partially unrolled on the floor of the gallery, taking up much floor space.

“We thought it would be interesting to see the piece reincarnated in a different format,” said Luke.

Speaking about the gallery, Luke explained, “The exhibitions are all linked to the university curriculum and area of course study.”

In this case, Could We Ever Know Each Other…? is directly linked to Professor Sara Matthews’ introductory Global Studies class.

The works will also be featured at the 2013 Peace and Social Justice Conference taking place October 18-20, 2013 at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Jamelie Hassan will be speaking at the conference on Oct. 18. Details about the conference can be found at www.peacejusticestudies.org/conference. Jamelie Hassan’s exhibition will be featured until October 26.

Patrick Mahon has been selected as the next featured artist. Mahon’s exhibition, Water & Tower Allegory will run from October 30 until December 7.

The Robert Langen Art Gallery is located in the John Aird Centre, operating Wednesday to Saturday from 12-5 p.m. It is open to the public and free of cost.

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