Earth as a Sanctuary, by Azra Aksamija
Thu, 26 Nov 2020, 4 to 5:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0)
Rooted in the history and theory of art and architecture of Islamic societies, Azra Aksamija’s artistic practice and academic research explore how social life is affected by cultural bias and by deterioration and destruction of cultural infrastructures within the context of conflict, migration, and forced displacement. In this online talk, Aksamija will present a selection of her recent work, including her exhibition design for Sanctuary at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto that considers the earth’s role as a sanctuary, underscoring global issues of sustainability and waste. Through a specific selection of materials and forms, the gallery-scale loom installations guide visitors through the exhibition, forming a critical reflection on the consumerism governing the economy in which we exist. The artworks and installations included in the exhibition tackle the role of art in opposing a global system in which the massive environmental costs of the capitalist-driven consumer lifestyle are increasingly borne by those who are most excluded from that lifestyle.
The Joint Lecture Series is a joint initiative of AKU-ISMC and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Education Programme; the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and the Aga Khan Museum are also organizing partners this year.
Azra Akšamija, PhD is an artist and architectural historian. She is the founding Director of the MIT Future Heritage Lab (FHL) and an Associate Professor in the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). Her work explores how social life is affected by cultural bias and by the deterioration and destruction of cultural infrastructures within the context of conflict, migration, and forced displacement. She holds graduate degrees in architecture form Technical University Graz (2001) and Princeton University (2004), and a PhD from MIT (2011). Akšamija is the author of two monographs, Mosque Manifesto (2015) and Museum Solidarity Lobby (2019), and editor of The Architecture of Coexistence: Building Pluralism (2020). Her artistic work has been exhibited in leading international venues, including the Generali Foundation Vienna, Liverpool Biennial, Secession Vienna, the Royal Academy of Arts London, Queens Museum of Art in New York, Design Week Festivals in Milan, Istanbul, and Amman, and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini as a part of the 54th Art Biennale in Venice. Her most recent work was shown at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization (2019), the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto (2020), and Venice Architecture Biennale (2020). She received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 for her design of the prayer space in the Islamic Cemetery Altach, and most recently the 2019 Art Prize of the City of Graz.
The talk will be delivered via zoom and the link will be shared on registration.
The exhibition photo: Sanctuary exhibition. ©Aga Khan Museum, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.