A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
architecture of the veil : An Installation by Samta Benyahia'
Algerian artist Samta Benyahia employs Mediterranean Islamic architectural motifs in combination with photographs and oral poetry to explore issues of gender, space, and power.
Influenced by the achievements of Algerian women artists—who have emerged on local and international art scenes in spite of the repressive politics of Algeria’s recent history— Benyahia will have her U.S. museum debut at the Fowler Museum with Architecture of the Veil: An Installation by Samta Benyahia, on display Jan. 28 through Sep. 2, 2007.
Architecture of the Veil will be a site-specific installation that takes its theme from the moucharabieh, the geometric openwork screens used in Mediterranean Islamic buildings to cover windows and balconies, allowing those inside—typically women—to view the outside world without being seen. In late 2005 Benyahia visited the Fowler Museum and was delighted to see that the Fowler building was designed in the spirit of Andalusian architecture, much like the spaces of her childhood in North Africa that have inspired her deep explorations of the moucharabieh.
For this installation, Benyahia will cover the Fowler’s glass entrance doors and arched interior courtyard windows with digitally printed films of a blue moucharabieh pattern. Encircling the courtyard in the Museum’s Goldenberg Galleria will be sixty “rosettes” consisting of sequin-embroidered motifs on netting, and eight large-scale black-and-white photographs of early 20th-century Algerian women, including the artist’s mother and aunt. Recordings of poems recited in Arabic and French will be heard throughout this installation, which will be a dynamic exploration of gender relations as well as of the tension between interior and exterior, concealment and revelation, and private versus public space.
About the Artist:
The Fowler is open Wed. through Sun., from noon to 5 p.m.; and on Thurs., from noon until 8 p.m. The museum is closed Mon. and Tues. The Fowler Museum, part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, is located in the north part of the UCLA campus. Admission is free. Parking is available for a maximum of $8 in Lot 4. For more information, the public may call (310) 825-4361 or visit fowler.ucla.edu.
Sun., Feb. 4, 2007 1–4 pm
architecture of the veil fowler:
More info at fowler.ucla.edu
Fowler Museum at UCLA
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