Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Orientalism and Ephemera


Orientalism and Ephemera

Curator: Jamelie Hassan

Exibition: March 14- April 26, 2008
OpeningFriday, March 14, 8pm

Event Schedule

-SYMPOSIUM (free admission)
In collaboration with the Simon Fraser University Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures
Friday, March 14, 10am – 4pm
The Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre,
Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street
Key note speakers: Steven Caton, PhD, Professor of Contemporary Arab Studies and Director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University Silvia Naef, Professor of Modern Arab Art at the University of Geneva and President of the European Association of Arabists and Islamicists

-FILM SCREENING (free admission)
Every Saturday during the exhibition (3-5pm)
Click here for details.

-THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: Transformations and Translations(free admission)
Presented by The Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures and the Department of World Literature at Simon Fraser University, along with the Vancouver Public Library.
Thursday April 22, 2008, 7:30pm
Peter Kaye Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Goergia Street

Abdoubakr Chraibi, INALCO
“Merchants as travellers in the 1001 Nights: duty, pleasure and business”

Dominique Jullien, UC Santa Barbara
“Undercover tourists: European writers in the Orient, the 1001 Nights and the lure of Arab dress”

Paulo Lemos Horta, Simon Fraser University
“Cartographies of exile and return: the Nights translator as voyager and informant”

For more information, please visit

About the exhibition

Many of my projects reflect on the cultural space of the Middle East and the legacy of Edward Said’s groundbreaking book Orientalism (1978). In Orientalism & Ephemera, I draw on my archives and collection, as well as a selection of works by other artists and collectors, to create an exhibition that brings multiple aspects of my own practice and interests together: creative, curatorial, research and collecting.

Orientalism & Ephemera thus explores the attraction and presence of the “East” within our everyday experience. For many artists, this awareness presents a way to counter the violence of today’s conflicts. Much of our contemporary cultural exchange is in response to the repeated and boundless violence of the politics of empire-building projects, which attempt to colonize the spatial, disempower the colonized, and destroy cultures. In Orientalism, Said addressed the Orient, not as a threatening other but as “an integral part of European material civilization and culture” (Said 1978). By focusing on ephemeral artefacts, souvenirs, pamphlets, postcards, catalogues, travel and commercial items, documents and photographs, the exhibition I have organized reflects a certain closeness and offers an alternative space from which to consider the innumerable manifestations of Orientalism within our everyday culture.

The exhibition, Orientalism and Ephemera, was first presented at Art Metropole, Toronto in the spring of 2006, and was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Windsor in the 2006/ 2007 and at the Ottawa Art Gallery 2007/2008. It’s presented at Centre A, Vancouver in March 2008 with the addition of artworks by artists from Vancouver & Winnipeg.
Orientalism & Ephemera will be presented at Centre A, Vancouver opening in March 14, 2008 with the addition of artworks by Vancouver artists, Abbas Akhavan, Babak Golkar, Jayce Salloum and Robert Stevenson,Ottawa and Winnipeg artist, Aganetha Dyck.
Participating Artists

Diyan Achjadi, Vancouver
Abbas Akhavan, Vancouver
Ron Benner, London, On
Duncan de Kergommeaux, Chelsea, Québec
Stan Denniston/Jamelie Hassan, Toronto/London, On
Aganetha Dyck, Winnipeg
Luitgard Eisenmeier, Vienna, Austria
Babak Golkar, Vancouver
Rawi Hage, Montreal
Jamelie Hassan, London, On
Farhang Jalali. London, On
Johanna Kandl, Vienna, Austria
Farouk Kaspaules, Ottawa
D. H. Monet, Ottawa
Fabiola Nabil Naguib, Galiano Island, BC
Garry Neill Kennedy, Halifax
Ernest Normand
Lisl Ponger,Vienna, Austria
Jayce Salloum, Vancouver
Julie Sando,Windsor
Sato Makato, Tokyo, Japan
N.Neal Solly
Rob Stevenson, Ottawa
Jeff Thomas, Ottawa
Jamelie Hassan, Exhibition Curator
Artist, curator, and cultural activist Jamelie Hassan was born in London, Ontario, where she continues to live. In 2001 she received the Governor General’s Award in recognition of 30 years of contribution to visual arts in Canada and in 2006 a Chalmers Art Fellowship. Her work is included in many
public art collections including: the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt; the Art Gallery of Windsor, and The Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia.

Centre A gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its patrons, sponsors, members, partners, private foundations, as well as government funding agencies, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.

The curator, Jamelie Hassan acknowledges with thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, the
Chalmers Arts Fellowship and the Ontario Arts Council for their financial support in the artist’s work, research and in the circulation of this exhibition.


Orientalism & Ephemera Exhibition Film screening program

Every Saturday, 3-5pm Admission Free
Venue: Centre A

PROGRAM A: March 15, 29 & April 12, April 26
PROGRAM B: March 22 & April 5, 19

PROGRAM A: 140 minutes

A documentary by Japanese filmmaker Sato Makoto (1957-2007)
140 minutes/colour-b&w/2005
English/Arabic/Hebrew (English subtitles)

Summery: Borrowing its title from the author’s 2000 memoir, Out of Place traces the life and work of Edward Said (1935-2003), the Palestinian-born intellectual who wrote widely on history, literature, music, philosophy and politics. Filmed in Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and the U.S., this feature-length documentary traces Said’s childhood influences and celebrates his intellectual legacy, especially the importance of his work in literary criticism and postcolonial studies, his love of music, his role on the Palestinian National Council, and his troubled relationship with Yasser Arafat.

PROGRAM B: 90 Minutes

Edward Said On Orientalism
Produced & edited by Sanjay Talreja
Executive Producer, Director & Editor Sut Jhally
40 minutes/ 1998 Courtesy: Media Education Foundation

Summery: Edward Said’s book Orientalism has been profoundly influential in a diverse range of disciplines since its publication in 1978. In this engaging and lavishly illustrated interview he talks about the context within which the book was conceived, its main themes, and how its original thesis relates to the contemporary understanding of “the Orient” as represented in the mass media. “That’s the power of the discourse of Orientalism. If you’re thinking about people and Islam, and about that part of the wold, those are the words you constantly have to use. To think past it, to go beyond it, not to use it, is virtually impossible, because there is no knowledge that isn’t codified in this way about that part of the world.” -Edward Said

(This Is Not Beirut)/There Was and There Was Not
A video by Jayce Salloum
49 minutes/ 1994

Summary: This Is Not Beirut is a personal project that examines the use and production of images and representations of Lebanon and Beirut, both in the West and in Lebanon itself. It also records Salloum’s interactions and experiences while working in Lebanon, focusing on this representational process by a Westernized, foreign-born Lebanese mediator with cultural connections to and baggage from both the West and Lebanon. Salloum situates the tape between genres, looking from the inside out at each and critically engaging the assumptions involved, and thus broken, as sites for the construction and discovery of identity. Salloum collected more than 200 hours of Hi-8, VHS, and found film material in Lebanon during 1992. The project tries to make sense of the material and its acquisition-sometimes directly and at other times addressing the attempt itself-to produce works that frame relationships, sites, subjects, and practical and conceptual issues.

‘The Myth of ‘The Clash of Civilization’, Edward Said in Lecture
Executive Producer, Director & Editor Sut Jhally
Edited by Sanjay Talreja
40 minutes, 1998 Courtesy: Media Education Foundation

Summary: In this important lecture delivered at the University of Massachusetts, Said takes aim at one of the central tenets of recent foreign policy thinking– that conflicts between different and “clashing civilizations” (Western, Islamic, Confucian) characterize the contemporary world.”The real question is whether in the end we want to work for civilizations that are separate, or whether we should be taking the more integrative, but perhaps more difficult path, which is to see them as making one vast whole, whose exact contours are impossible for any person to grasp, but whose certain existence we can intuit and feel and study.” -Edward Said
Press Coverage
Orientalism and Ephemera – C99 Magazine – Autumn 2008  (0.9MB)

For more information please contact:
Makiko Hara (Curator)