Towards is pleased to present Spectators of a New Dawn, an exhibition by Hangama Amiri.
In this most recent body of work, Amiri continues to examine the ways in which gender, social norms, and larger geopolitical conflict impacts the daily lives of Afghan women.
The work in this exhibition emerged from conversations Amiri has been having with cousins, aunts, and close friends still living in Kabul. The women speak about the potential return of the Taliban regime amidst the ongoing US-Taliban peace talks, and Amiri notes, “After speaking with them over the past two years, I have found they are predominantly concerned with maintaining their basic human rights and the progress Afghan women have made in education, employment, and their overall role in society…”
Drawing upon these stories as well as her own personal memories, Amiri has created a series of immersive, large scale portraits. Set within coffee shops, on rooftops, as well as the outskirts of the city, these works hover back and forth between public and private spaces, creating a sense of intimacy while depicting a more urbane and cosmopolitan existence. The fictionalized subjects within these portraits are similarly nuanced, evoking complex, multifaceted lives that reflect a myriad of lived experiences. Combining sewn textiles with hand painted elements, these vivid, richly layered scenes explore such universal themes as fear, longing, love, and hope, while drawing attention to the precarity of living under the constant threat of social and political upheaval.
Imbued with a sense of resiliency, these are ultimately hopeful portraits. Assiduously constructed piece by piece, there is a sense of care that permeates all of Amiri’s work. Through these carefully orchestrated assemblages, a renewed sense of possibility emerges.
Hangama Amiri (b. 1989 Peshawar, Pakistan) holds an MFA from Yale University (2020) and a BFA from NSCAD University (2012) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Select recent solo exhibitions include Wandering Amidst the Colors at Albertz Benda in New York; Spectators of a New Dawn at Towards Gallery, Toronto; Bazaar, A Recollection of Home at T293 Gallery in Rome; and Oceans Edge at Laurie Swim Gallery in Luneberg, NS. Recent group exhibitions include This is America , Kunstraum Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany (2021); Yale Painting & Printmaking MFA 2020, Perrotin, New York, NY (2020); Cybernetic Alchemy, Foreign (Material) Affairs, New Inc, New Museum, New York (2019); and the Inaugural Film Series, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2014). Amiri has been the recipient of multiple awards and grants including the Arts Nova Scotia Grant (2018); a Canadian Fulbright and Post-Graduate Fellow at Yale (2016) as well the 2011 Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteerism Award. She has participated in residencies including Long Road Projects in Jacksonville, Florida (2019); World of CO Residency in Sofia, Bulgaria (2018), Joya AiR Residency Program in Almería, Andalucía, Spain (2017); and the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity (2017).
87 Wade Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6H 1P5, Canada