Jamelie Hassan

3 May 1988 - 28 May 1988
Opening Reception 3 May 1988 8pm

West Gallery:

Vitrine 448

For this solo exhibition at Mercer Union, Jamelie Hassan will present an installation with an accompanying bookwork. Hassan’s work has been characterized by a personal investigation and expression of global concerns: cultural displacement, political strife, political injustice, and social conscience. In vitrine 448she focuses on aspects of colonialism and patriarchy within the structuralist anthropological process. Drawing on the theories of Claude Levi-Strauss, the artist combines, among other elements, his images of native women, images fram the Musée de L’Homme in Paris where Levi-Strauss’ collection is housed, and salvaged architectural components. In the accompanying bookwork, the artist deals with systems of knowledge assemblage, specifically the classification and cataloguing methods of western institutions.

Jamelie Hassan‘s work has been presented in solo exhibitions in London, Ontario where the artist resides; Halifax; Toronto; Montreal; Ottawa; Baghdad; and the Yucatan. Recent group exhibitions include Reconnaissance, 1987, Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, and Songs of Experience, 1986, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Opening Tuesday May 3rd, 8:00 pm and continuing through Saturday May 28, this exhibition in Mercer Union’s West Gallery represents the artist’s first solo show in Toronto since 1985. To complement the exhibition, a public talk by the artist will take place at Mercer Union Wednesday May 4th at 7:30 pm.

Lorna Simpson and Jamelie Hassan
, July 1988
by Lorne Fromer

Contemporary photography finds itself at the crossroads of numerous art practices and concerns. Unfettered by the conventions and “correctness” of previous generations of photographers, contemporary photo-artists are plunging headlong into uncharted waters, driven by new modes of expression and areas of inquiry. Mercer Union recently hosted two challenging photo exhibitions (May 3 – May 28) that incorporate image and text to question values and attitudes in language and myth, and modes of representation.

Jamelie Hassan’s Vitrine 488– collection of objects revolves around her discovery of Claude Levi-Strauss’ 1938 study of a Brazilian tribe. His concern was how women of this tribe have altered their facial appearance through pigment. Hassan’s concern is cultural imperialism. Using an autobiographical text and images from Levi-Strauss’ published work overlaid with her own images, she has created a compelling narrative that questions the roles of anthropology, museums and contemporary travel rituals.

Lorna Simpson’s exhibition employs large-scale images and texts to expose how cliches maintain outmoded roles for women and men, their relationships and racist undertones of everyday language. While the photos describe a subject, they lack clues associated with personality. They depict body parts – backs of heads, an ear, hands in action, etc. presented in counterpoint to descriptive text fragments gleaned from party games, proverbs, bits and pieces of conversation, and cliches. In our hunger for the specific we are transported to the general where Simpson’s message becomes both clear and enlightening.