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Cultural identity is an inspiration for sculpture and additional international and American works
Diana Al-Hadid, American, born in Syria, 1981. Trace of a Fictional Third, 2011 (detail). Steel, polymer gypsum, wood, fiberglass, paint. George Economou Collection. Photo: Marianne Boesky Gallery.
RICHMOND, VA.- A single large sculpture by Diana Al-Hadid that interweaves landscape, architecture, and the human figure occupies a room in the 21st Century gallery until September 2. The sculpture is accompanied by new, heavily worked graphite drawings that add another dimension to Al-Hadid’s creative process. Al-Hadid makes complex works that seem in a state of flux, suggesting both incompletion and decay. The wide array of sources that underlie her large-scale forms include Biblical and mythological narratives, Arab oral traditions, Gothic architecture, Western painting, Islamic ornamentation, and scientific advances in physics and astronomy.

Born in Syria and raised in the United States, Al-Hadid received her MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She currently lives and works in New York.

Complementing the exhibition are works with themes of mapping, globalism, hybridity, cultural identity, and the tension between sacred and secular. The works are a combination of loans and permanent collection art.

• Concentration of work by contemporary Middle Eastern and South Asian artists, including:

• Shahzia Sikander (born in Pakistan, 1969, lives in United States)

• Gulammohammed Sheikh (born and lives in India, 1937)

• Nilima Sheikh (born and lives in India, 1945)

• Nusra Qureshi (born in Pakistan, 1973, lives in Australia)

• Ahmed Alsoudani (born in Pakistan, 1975, lives in United States)

• Works not previously exhibited at VMFA, including loans and new acquisitions by artists such as Shepard Fairey, Matthew Day Jackson, and Guillermo Kuitca.

• Popular favorites, such as paintings by Julie Mehretu, Fred Tomaselli, and Kehinde Wiley.

• Photography by international, national, and local artists.

The artist will speak on March 23 at 1 p.m. in a program titled, Conversations: Diana Al-Hadid. This dialogue with curator John Ravenal is free and open to the public. Conversations is a recurring VMFA program that features curators, artists, educators, and other special guests in informal gallery discussions.



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