Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Empathy and Craft in the 21st Century
July-August, 2017

Participating artists: Ali Yas, Ahmed Salameh, Bayan Kiwan, Diala Al Daghlise, Diran Malatjalian, Ethan Murrow, Hannah Jabare, Khaldoun Hijazin, Lina Salah, Mayada Abu-Qdais, Patte Loper, Sama Shahrouri, Tasneem Jaabo, Wujoud

Exhibition was based on workshops led by myself, Diran Malatjalian, Khaldoun Hijazin and Ethan Murrow. Preparations for the exhibition began with a workshop led by myself and Khaldoun Hijazin examining intersectionality as a tool to resist entrenched hierarchies. This felt particularly potent at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman, a city and country at the crossroads of the Middle East, witnessing and ameliorating the interlocked and continuing refugee crises of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Further workshops included video and electronic media strategies led by Diran Malatjanian, and portraiture in response to contemporary ideas of empathy and craft led by Khaldoun Hijazin and Ethan Murrow.
 
This workshop happened because of the generosity of the Daynard Travel Grant from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and the support of the National Gallery of Fine Arts and their Director, Dr. Khalid Khreis.
 

2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Group photo, Thinking by Making Workshop
2017

Thinking by Making focused on a series of questions designed to prompt artists to consider spacial and material relationships in connection to their bodies, identities and hierarchies of power The concept of intersectionality was used as a tool to connect artists from differing backgrounds.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Post its

We began with a series of questions and prompts designed to focus artists on the way they have experienced both vulnerability and power in relationship to their physical bodies and identities. The conversation at times got intense, and whenever something that was being said particularly resonated, artists jotted down notes on post its.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts


Over the first few days of the workshop, we allowed the post its to accumulate on one wall of the gallery.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts


The notes were a great way to reflect on the conversations as they happened.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Found material
Spacial exploration, artist Ahmed Salameh
2017
Found material

The next step was to explore the physical space of the gallery, to find places that had resonance for each individual artist, whether it was a visual response to the light, or just a sense of liking the way the architecture felt in a particular spot.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Material collection
2017

Once artists found a ‘home’ in the space, everyone went out and collected material for building explorations. The idea was to find non-precious materials to allow for free experimentation. It got messy.


Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Conceptual development, artist and architect, Mayada Abu-Qdais
2017

Next, artists began connecting their material explorations with conceptual development. Here, artist and architect Mayada Abu Qdais is designing an abstract animation to interact with a sculptural object.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Conceptual development in relationship to material exploration
2017

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Black thread, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
Material explorations: connecting to Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts main building, by artist Sama Shahrouri
2017
Black thread, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
1 city block

Sama engineered a process by which she was able to run black thread 25 feet above ground, connecting the contemporary gallery to the main building across the sculpture court.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts String, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
Material explorations: connecting to Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts main building, by artist Sama Shahrouri
2017
String, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
1 city block

Thread running between the two buildings of National Gallery. The process required running the thread through tree branches and across two busy roads to reach the other side of the sculpture court.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts String, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
Material explorations: connecting to Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts main building, by artist Sama Shahrouri
2017
String, two buildings, sculpture courtyard
1 city block

It was fascinating to try to follow the thread with your eye. It was so thin that it was visible only from certain vantage points.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Two flat stones, jump rope, balcony
Conceptual and material explorations, artist Ali Yas
2017
Two flat stones, jump rope, balcony

Ahmed spent several days exploring the space of the gallery, walking through and rubbing these two stones together. By creating an audial vibration as he moved, he was exploring using other senses in additional to the visual.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Conceptual and material explorations, artist Ali Yas

After his exploration with the stones, Ali created a ritualistic performative act in which he would hand stones to a partner, who would rub them together inside the gallery while he jumped rope outside on the balcony. His goal was to be able to intuitively stop jumping rope when the partner stopped rubbing the stones.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Salvaged material
Material and conceptual explorations, artist Dina Malkawi
2017
Salvaged material

Artist Dina Malkawi's conceptual exploration was around shared breath and shared language, her first version of the piece was cobbled together with found material and took a team of artists to manipulate.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Metal and rubber tubing, bicycle tire pumps
Artist Dina Malkawi, Final Piece
2017
Metal and rubber tubing, bicycle tire pumps

Final piece exploring breath and shared language.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Material exploration, artist and architect Mayada Abu-Qdais

Mayada's continued experimentation with connecting object and animation, she is being assisted by artists Tasneem Jaabo and Lina Sala - artists worked very collaboratively, assisting one another throughout the workshop.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Final Piece, Mayada Abu-Qdais

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Plywood, human body
Conceptual and material exploration, artist Lina Sala
2017
Plywood, human body

Artist Lina Sala was intent on creating a piece in which two people were needed to create balance. Shown here is experimentation with assistance from a fellow artist.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Plywood, 2 human bodies
Balancing Piece, artist Lina Sala
2017
Plywood, 2 human bodies

Lina Sala's final piece at the exhibition, performing with artist Tasneem Jaabo.

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts Plywood, 2 human bodies
Balancing Piece, artist Lina Sala
2017
Plywood, 2 human bodies

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Final Exhibition, Empathy and Craft in the 21st Century
2017

The final exhibition opening

Patte Loper 2017 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts
Final Piece, Diala Al Daghlise
2017

Final exhibition opening, artist Diala Al Daghlise in the foreground, with Khaldoun Hijazin's collaborative portrait in the background.