Group Exhibition, A Fast, Moving Sky | Amir H. Fallah, Almost Home

The Third Line is proud to welcome Dexter Wimberly as guest curator for the exhibition 'A Fast, Moving Sky'. Dexter has selected four artists from vastly different parts of the world, who are connected to the African Diaspora. Rushern Baker, Leonardo Benzant, Andrew Lyght and Valerie Piraino are cultural hybrids whose works exemplify the complexity of defining this phenomenon; aesthetically as well as geographically. 'A Fast, Moving Sky' illustrates how ideas, aesthetics and people are constantly in flux. Rushern’s abstract mixed media pieces convey a sense of violence and destruction. In his creative process, Rushern strains the canvas through construction and inclusion, even adding building materials to his work. Born into a politically active family and raised in Washington D.C., Rushern developed an active interest in current affairs, which returns in his work as the artist strives to capture a feeling of unrest. Leonardo is a Dominican-American artist, born and raised in Brooklyn, who refers to himself as an Urban Shaman. His practice is informed by his studies of the Congo and his spiritual beliefs, that are shaped by his research into native African and South-American religion and rituals. Through expressive and colorful imagery, Leonardo depicts his impressions of the visual world, the unseen and the cosmos, and continuously explores his ties to his ancestral past. Andrew tests the limits of the conventional canvas through deconstruction. His current works resemble kite-like objects that are difficult to categorize simply as drawing or sculpture. The artist, who was born in Guyana and later moved to the West, finds his inspiration in early childhood memories such as flying kites—a popular sport in Guyana that fuels his oeuvre. Valerie’s work departs from her transnational background: she was brought up between Rwanda and the US. Her sculptures represent tropical fruits, plants and seeds native to the Global South and embody the migrants from the region. By means of aesthetic clues such as the use of gold—a resource that plays an important role in African history, she reflects on colonization, trade and current migration. ----- Gallery 2: 'Almost Home' Amir H. Fallah May 24 – July 1, 2017 Amir H. Fallah returns to The Third Line with a new body of work titled 'Almost Home' reflecting on the idea of belonging outside one’s country of origin. The exhibition shows a series of the artist’s signature style landscapes and portraits, respectively referencing floral Persian ornamentation and Iranian-American immigrants who have not returned to Iran since their departure several decades ago. Amir works deeply from his own experience, and explores what it means to exist outside the homeland. 'Almost Home' looks at narratives that seem congruent in the immigrants’ lives. The concept of a home takes on a new meaning: it is fluid, transient, constantly evolving; it is not one grounded in old land, seeped with the history of generations that have passed through it. A new 'home', then, is rebuilt holding on to constants that people of migration identify as markers of a culture that they need to perpetuate in newer landscapes. The impermanence of these new homes is a reflection of a very stark reality of modern day mobility and livelihood. 'The Filmmaker’s Reflection' displays Amir’s bold style of portrait painting. The subject’s identity remains anonymous, though it is surrounded by an assortment of items, primarily personal belongings and memorabilia. These pieces of clothing, jewellery and mementos reference the home, the subject’s roots and cultural heritage. Along the edges of the painting is an elaborate tangle of flowers and vines similar to the ornate borders found on Persian rugs. Amidst the paintings one finds lyrics to the Simon & Garfunkel song Homeward Bound. A Farsi version of the lyrics, the now calligraphic text was converted using Google Translate, deconstructing the song throughout the process. By combining aspects of American culture with the historical tradition of Persian calligraphy, the text mirrors the subjects’ experience of getting lost in translation. In creating this surreal window into a highly schematic vision of typified memories, Amir plays what it means to be away from one’s home and country of origin, and creates an ironically tourist book condition of displacement. Adding a second layer of meaning to the exhibition, Amir chooses to exhibit the works in this home in Dubai, a city that has become a safe haven for thousands of Iranians. Many of Amir’s American-Iranian subjects cannot return to Iran, and they most certainly cannot be permanent settlers in the UAE, but by recreating this mirage and bringing their portraits to Dubai, Amir imagines it as one step closer to their homeland. And so, bringing them 'almost home'.