In January, Shangri La hosted two renowned artists, Mohammed Kazem and Eko Nugroho, in the museum’s Artists in Residence program. Kazem and Nugroho each completed original works of art that will be on display at different locations around Honolulu as part of the inaugural Honolulu Biennial 2017, which runs from March 8 – May 8.
Mohammed Kazem is a conceptual artist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. His work often features photographic images, video, sound, and performance. Some of his recent work, including his work completed in Honolulu, utilizes GPS coordinates usually tied to his current location, which are then replicated and disbursed through natural elements such as light, water, and air. Kazem’s work has been exhibited around the world in institutions such as the British Museum (London, England), the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE), the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha, Qatar), and many others.
Eko Nugroho’s art, which mixes street art aesthetics with motifs of traditional Indonesian culture, has gained international recognition as well. In 2013, Nugroho was commissioned by French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, to design a silk scarf. The following year he was invited to represent Indonesia at the Venice Biennial.
Nugroho’s work at Shangri La, which consists of an outdoor mural along with three paintings on large pieces of raw, unfinished canvas, are collectively titled Above the Wall, Under the Rainbow, Free Air. It is evident that this work was heavily influenced by current events taking place during Nugroho’s time in residence at Shangri La from January 24-February 5, 2017. His outdoor mural emphasizes the words “share,” “love,” and “peace” while his canvas paintings speak specifically to the experiences of Muslims in the U.S. and abroad.
Nugroho’s work will be on display at Shangri La as well as The Hub of the Honolulu Biennial (Ward Village, 222 Ward Avenue). Visitors who would like to view Nugroho’s work at Shangri La will need to arrange a tour through the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Kazem’s work for the Honolulu Biennial also touches upon borders. During his time at Shangri La, he symbolically collected the GPS locations of all the artists participating in the biennial. As sunlight seeps across his newest installation, the coordinates are scrambled and scattered, reaching far beyond their national borders. Kazem’s work titled Directions: Honolulu will be on display at the ARTS at Mark’s Garage in downtown Honolulu throughout the duration of the Honolulu Biennial. ARTS at Mark’s Garage is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday from 12:00-5:00 p.m.
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