Ghada Amer’s Political Work

(Ghada Amer (American, born Egypt, 1963) and Ladan S. Naderi (French, born Iran, 1960). I ♥ Paris, 1991. Three chromogenic prints from a series of six. Courtesy of the artists.)

A notable section of Ghada Amer: Love Has No End contains three photographs from a larger series that Ghada Amer collaborated on with two fellow artists in 1991, titled I ♥ Paris, 1991. Then an art student living in Paris, Amer and close friend and artist Ladan S. Naderi walked around the city, dressed in veils and other conservative garments, staging group portraits in front of famous Parisienne tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the iconic merry-go-round located at the Sacre Coeur. These photographs were taken shortly after a string of terrorist bombings by Islamic militants in Paris took place from 1990 to 1991. The series also extended into performances of Amer and Iranian-born Naderi attending art openings around Paris dressed in the Iranian chador and Egyptian naqqab, which called attention to the regional variations of Islamic attire and the meaning associated with choosing to wear the garments. Needless to say, the pair did not get much of a warm reception at many of these stuffy openings!

This is the first time any part of this series has been shown publicly, and recently got some attention, inviting comparisons to the likes of Emily Jacir and Shirin Neshat.

Related to this section of the exhibition, is Reign of Terror, 2005, an installation in the gallery that is not easily overlooked. Working with students at Wellesley College in 2005, this installation features the bold pink and green wallpaper and a plastic and paper place-settings that the artist covered with the phrase “Terrorism’ is not indexed in Arabic dictionaries.” The paper goods were displayed in the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, and also used by staff and students in the College’s cafeteria!

Stop by the galleries tomorrow, July 12th, to hear Maura Reilly, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, talk about these works and others from the exhibition Ghada Amer: Love Has No End. For more details on this, and other programs in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art this weekend, click here.

(Ghada Amer (American, born Egypt, 1963). The Reign of Terror, 2005. Wallpaper from installation at Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts)