Afghan Canadian artist Hangama Amiri combines painting and printmaking techniques with textiles, weaving together stories based on memories of her homeland and her diasporic experience. Amiri fled Kabul with her family in 1996 when she was seven years old. Moving through numerous countries over several years, they immigrated to Canada in 2005 when Amiri was a teenager. Amiri’s choice of materials stems from autobiographical origins—her mother taught her to sew and her uncle was a tailor. Her textiles also reference the colors and fabrics she remembers in the bazaars and on the streets in Kabul. She sources her materials from an Afghan-owned shop in New York City’s fashion district, collaging with fabric and painting on the surfaces. Large-scaled with frayed edges, Amiri’s textile works are made from layering fabrics, piecing and sewing them together, so the fragments collectively characterize her home from a distance. Centered on the lives of women, she builds interiors that capture her protagonists within domestic and entrepreneurial spaces and amplify a collective struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan and around the world.
This exhibition is the artist’s solo museum debut and will unveil a new body of work specially made for The Aldrich. It will span the entirety of the Museum’s first floor galleries and will be accompanied by the artist’s first museum publication, with an essay by the exhibition’s curator, Amy Smith-Stewart.
Hangama Amiri: A Homage to Home is curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, Chief Curator.
Hangama Amiri was born in 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan and lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut. Amiri received her MFA from Yale University in Painting and Printmaking and her BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was a Canadian Fulbright and Postgraduate Fellow at Yale University School of Arts and Sciences. She has mounted solo exhibitions of her work nationally and internationally at the David B. Smith Gallery, Denver; Cooper Cole, Toronto; Albertz Benda gallery, New York; and T293 Gallery, Rome.
Generous support for Hangama Amiri: A Homage to Home is provided by Ellen and Andrew Celli and The Coby Foundation. Significant support is provided by Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey, Sara and Hussein Khalifa, Kristina and Philip Larson, and Michael Sherman and Carrie Tivador. Additional support is provided by Nicole Bray, Mercer Contemporary and the Consulate General of Canada in New York. The catalogue is supported by the Eric Diefenbach and James-Keith Brown Publications Fund and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation. Production support is provided by the Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey Commissions Fund. Media support provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).
Top image: Hangama Amiri: A Homage to Home (installation view: Bazaar, 2020, Courtesy of the artist and T293, Rome), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, February 5 to June 11, 2023. Photo: Jason Mandella