Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From: traveling exhibition

EXHIBITION

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From is a project developed in collaboration between Fondazione Imago Mundi and Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. 

It is an exhibition curated by Marion Eele and Marianne Fenton and it is born from the post-migrant experiences of 15 artists whose works celebrate the diversity and creativity rspawned when cultures combine.

It is a traveling exhibition and includes 4 stages, from December 2019 to March 2023: the Gallerie delle Prigioni in Treviso (Italy), Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) and Orlando Museum of Art (Orlando, Florida).

6 December 2019 - 2 February 2020

Gallerie delle Prigioni - Treviso

25 February - 13 April 2020

Aga Khan Museum - Toronto

15 April - 19 June 2022

Art Gallery of Alberta - Edmonton

November 2022 - March 2023

Orlando Museum of Art - Orlando, Florida

Curated by

Marion Eele (Fondazione Imago Mundi)

Marianne Fenton (Aga Khan Museum)

More info

The concept

Having grown up in a context that is different from that of their parents or grandparents, the artists in the exhibition carry in their own lives the traces of what determined the migration of previous generations: colonialism, war, inequality, and, above all, the wish for a better life. Yet for the most part, the stories told here represent the personal side to these trends, offering us a lens through which to understand and empathize with these global issues in a more intimate way.

However, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From goes beyond simply understanding, coming at a specific historical time, it seeks to challenge nationalism, racism, and exclusionary identity politics. This challenge comes through the celebration of the ability of post-migrant artists to act as cultural mediators, and of diversity not only as an undeniable part of 21st-century social fabric but also as a crucial element for continued artistic production. The representation of reality and the enhancement of its beauty become radical and powerful actions that oppose prejudices.

For example, Sarah Maple and Gui Mohallem highlight what is lost in translation between themselves and their forebears; Erica Kaminishi and eL Seed focus instead on the physical act of writing, questioning fixed notions of identity and nationality. The topic of home oftentimes emerges: how it can be multiple rather than singular, fluid rather than fixed, and how this impacts a sense of belonging. Houda Terjuman and Elena El Asmar look for physical reminders of migration in everyday objects. Shinpei Takeda focuses on the desire to return home having “made something” of oneself, creating a monumental structure to celebrate this imagined homecoming. Daniela Edburg draws parallels between migrations of people and changes in natural phenomena, questioning who – or what – can lay claim to a specific place. Farihah Shah and John Young Zerunge address memory presenting ongoing archival research projects – one a family archive, the other historical. Liberty Battson’s colorful, interactive work invites visitors to understand the hybrid post-migrant identity and brings memories to a game that is almost infinitely variable.

When one’s identity sits between worlds and is constantly questioned or defined by others, telling personal stories and making oneself visible are political acts. By following the intertwining paths and themes, the viewer is encouraged to consider their own background and the journeys that brought them to where they are today. After all, what does it really mean to be “from” somewhere?

Inauguration video at Gallerie delle Prigioni - Treviso

Documentary 50/50

A series of interviews with a group of second-generation young people from Treviso tell their stories where many of the same themes and topics arise in common with the artworks: belonging, identity, family, language, and food.

Click below to watch it

From February 25 to April 13, 2020, the exhibition moved to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada. In the video below you can watch the virtual tour led by co-curator Marianne Fenton at the rooms of the Aga Khan Museum

From Friday 15 April 2022 to 19 June 2022, the exhibition Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From can be visited at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)

Finally, the fourth and final stage of the exhibition Don’t ask me where I’m from is at the Orlando Museum of Art, in Florida. It will be on display from November 2022 until March 2023

6 December 2019 - 2 February 2020

Gallerie delle Prigioni - Treviso

25 February - 13 April 2020

Aga Khan Museum - Toronto

15 April - 19 June 2022

Art Gallery of Alberta - Edmonton

November 2022 - March 2023

Orlando Museum of Art - Orlando, Florida

Curated by

Marion Eele (Fondazione Imago Mundi)

Marianne Fenton (Aga Khan Museum)

More info

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