Garden (Feast) of Paradise

Jul 21st - Sep 2nd, 2018

This exhibition highlights the cultural and aesthetic influences of Islam and the Middle East on the work of six contemporary ceramic artists. The artists Sanam Emami, Dominique Ellis, Julia Galloway, Sarah Heitmeyer, Ibrahim Said, and Anat Shiftan designed the gallery to highlight the function of the artwork as a visual metaphor for the shared culture between the U.S. and the Middle East.

The artists in this exhibition made work that interprets and reflects on broadening our connections and views of the diverse cultures and peoples of the Islamic world. Traditionally Islamic Gardens were rooted in ideal reflections on artistic and religious concepts; here each artist explores ideas inherent in tableware and objects for the table, and are inspired by the worlds of Islam and the Middle East. This artwork celebrates and challenges singular views of this dynamic and indefinable region of the world.

Garden (Feast) of Paradise was conceived of by three of the participating artists, Sanam Emami, Anat Shiftan, and Dominique Ellis. Each artist has personal ties to the Middle East and explored their various ideas and relationships to the region through monthly Skype conversations two years ago.  These discussions took place before and after the 2016 US Presidential election. The emotionally dissonance caused by the election spurred them to create an art project that would present their love of the Islamic world on a more public scale. First displayed at NCECA 2018 in Pittsburgh, the topic is of great value, and we felt it deserved the attention of our community here at The Clay Studio and beyond.  Through art we are able to identify the commonalities among various cultures, while celebrating their unique qualities. We welcome you to sit at these conceptual feasts and partake of the satisfying act of consuming beauty.

Read the recent mention of this exhibition by Edith Newhall in the Philadelphia Inquierer