Very recently, the ‘Galería Ana Serratosa’ hosted an event opening to the public the triple project by Ghada Amer. This Egyptian-born contemporary artist is known for her thought-provoking art pieces that include embroidered paintings, impressive sculptures, and exquisite gardens. During the press conference, the guests had an opportunity to learn more about the exhibited works, as well as about Amer’s inspiration and the message she aims to convey with her art that can be seen in Valencia.
The presentation began in the gallery, offering attendees the opportunity to explore Amer’s sensual ceramic works centred around themes of femininity and eroticism. The creator wanted to address the traditionally opposing dichotomies of femininity versus masculinity and “liberate women through their seductive potency”. Apart from the beautiful sculptures, Amer spoke about the embroidery pieces, with an emphasis on the medium which helped her articulate the problem of suppression of women. Before attending to the next parts, she reminded everyone that as a visual artist, she creates all of her art as a reflection; something that does not dictate the way of living but raises awareness.
The guests took a walk to see the next piece called 100 Words of Love located in the historic building restored by the gallery called ‘Domicilio Particular.’ Amer shared the details of the creation of this impressively big sculpture. As an Arab in the United States, she frequently faced Islamophobia and encountered harmful stereotypes. The prolonged exposure to bigoted claims about Arabs being dangerous gradually influenced her mindset, leading her to internalize these negative messages. During a challenging period, she sought comfort in her sister, who immediately rejected the stereotype that Arabs are associated solely with violence. “There are 100 words for love in Arabic,” she affirmed to Amer, a statement that resonated so profoundly that it inspired the artist to contemplate an art piece conveying this powerful message.
Motivated to transcend conventional embroidery, she delved into the concept of shadows within her cultural context. According to a certain Islamic notion, a sculpture is seen as a picture with a shadow and is therefore more tangible. The prohibition of sculpture is rooted in the belief that those who create them may inadvertently assume the role of the Creator by attempting to replicate Allah’s creations. Lit from below, Amer’s sculpture benefits from the shadows cast by the words melted into a giant orb, creating a positive message about Arabic culture. The piece can be viewed in the widow exhibition located on Cabillers Street No. 5.
From there, the guests moved to the next part of the presentation – the garden installation, located in the Turia River Gardens between the Palace of Arts and the Science Museum. THIS WILL SAVE US is a living and changing piece consisting of various crops that are meant to feed the community. This piece is also supposed to change with the seasonal crops.
Apart from working as a sustainable living art piece, her garden project brings back the awareness of farming, and how we can relearn to recognize and grow food. On top of that, Ghada Amer unveiled the feminist message behind the garden. “Throughout history, women were doctors because they knew herbs, and this is also why they were treated as witches. This garden is a reflection of women, as this was the last power that was taken from them.” Feminism has been a recurring theme in Amer’s work, a testament to her unwavering dedication to the cause. “My gardens are very political,” she adds, “Even the ones speaking about love, speak also about war”. She referred to the piece Love Grave created after she witnessed how Americans would raise monuments following the attacks on Iran. “What kind of monument can you make? War is death! Better not to make them at all.” The event inspired her to create the famous piece, which is a commentary on the absurdity of wars. All of the art pieces can be seen from the 25th of November until the 5th of March 2024.
You can now read an article on the art presentation at the Galería Ana Serratosa here: https://247valencia.com/the-ana-serratosa-gallery-presents-ghada-amer-in-three-venues-in-valencia-at-the-same-time/
Report by Konrad Leśniak
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
‘Ghader Amer in Valencia’ photo copyright Konrad Leśniak/ ’24/7 Valencia’
The Ana Serratosa Gallery
Penthouse, C/ de Pascual i Genís,19,
Phone: 963 50 90 00