Anna Boghiguian unveils a comprehensive exhibit of her work at Tate St. Ives.
Egyptian artist Anna Boghiguian is having quite a deserved moment in the UK art world. Off the back of presenting a monumental installation merging together the impact of the steel industry, globalisation and the communities whose lives encompass at prestigious Artes Mundi Prize in Cardiff (October 26, 2018-February 24, 2019), the artist just opened a major UK solo exhibition at Tate St. Ives in Cornwall, bringing together her signatory notebooks, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures and large-scale installations.
Her approach takes the book as a starting point, which she then deconstructs and transforms into an expanded form through a process of cutting, folding and unfolding. Boghiguian has travelled extensively and much of this experience informs her practice as an emphatic observer of people, places and the wider socio-political and historical contexts. Her subject traverses geographies and centres on the complexities of the human condition, from past to present, in order to “celebrate a nomadic and suffering humanity, who have been victims of history and its many conflicts.”
A central work in this exhibition, The Salt Traders (2015) is based on the artist’s imaginary story about an ancient Roman salt ship emerging from melting polar ice in the year AD 2300, a time when future civilisations learn about the history of their world. The work comprises painted sails, collages, honeycombs, sections of a boat, red wool and salt. It speaks of wider commerce and history of salt as well as key events relating to this history. Specifically made for this exhibition is a new work, A Tin Has Forgotten Its Own Rhythm (2019), referencing the history of Cornwall where Tate St. Ives is located and highlighting the loss of the local tin mining industry and its fishing heritage. Whilst Boghiguian’s installations might on first encounter seem like a theatrical setting of elaborate motifs, on closer inspection, her works engage critically with injustices against individuals, spanning topics of global commerce, slavery, colonialism, conflicts and wars. The exhibition at Tate St. Ives is organised by curators Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director, and Marianna Vecellio, curator of Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, with Anne Barlow, director of Tate St. Ives.
Anna Boghiguian was born in 1946 in Cairo, Egypt. She studied political science at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and arts and music at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Recent solo exhibitions include: Anna Boghiguian, Tate St. Ives, UK (2019); The Loom of History, New Museum, New York, USA (2018); Anna Boghiguian, Bait Al Serkal, Sharjah Arts Square, Sharjah, UAE (2018); Anna Boghiguian, Castello di Rivoli, Rivoli, Italy (2017); Cities by the Rivers, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2015); Anna Boghiguian, I heard of myths but I understood I have to free myself from it but how, when, and where, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon (2014).
The exhibit is on view until the 6th of May.