A cluster of ceramic birds sits in the centre of the room. Intricate blue patterns fleck their white surfaces. The birds are both original and found pieces, belonging to Soheila Esfahani’s piece named “The Immigrants: Mississauga” (2016) at the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Esfahani is one of three artists currently displaying their collections at the AGM.
Pattern Migration is an exhibition that combines the old with the new. Sanaz Mazinani, Diyan Achjadi, and Soheila Esfahani find inspiration in ancient ceramics, particularly the markings and ornamental designs found on their surfaces. Using these patterns as a starting point, Mazinani, Achjadi, and Esfahani create digital prints, photography, and installations that reflect the history of a given culture. The purpose of each artist’s collection is to convey themes of migration, cultural appropriation, cross-cultural exchange, hybridization, and colonialism.
Esfahani’s birds act as a representation of migration. They’re decorated with a diverse blend of patterns; some containing images of Islamic art, while others contain images found in Mississauga. This installation is a beautiful example of movement and immigration. It blends aspects of two different settings, the Middle East and Mississauga, across time. The notion of both old and new ceramic birds signifies the history behind cultural migration.
As I stepped around the circle of birds, I couldn’t help but appreciate their beauty and admire the context in which they exist. Their sporadic placement across the floor forces viewers to stop and admire them. Despite their fragility, these ceramic birds symbolize a weighty subject.
Lining the walls of the main gallery are Mazinani’s kaleidoscopic prints belonging to her Persian Architecture series. Inspired by her native Iran, Mazinani explores topics of cross-cultural exchange and diasporas. Her prints are surrealist interpretations of patterns found in Persian culture. They display a fusion of muted tones, pulsing in an outward—or inward, take your pick —motion, like looking through a kaleidoscope.
Mazinani’s “Golestan Palace Tiles” (2016) reflect images found in the Golestan Palace. Located in Iran’s capital, Tehran, the Golestan Palace contains bright, ornamental designs that radiate throughout its domed ceilings and sumptuous rooms. Mazinani’s print gracefully encapsulates the artistic flair of the Golestan Palace. I could watch her prints for hours, following one strain of colour to the next, and I would never tire of her imagery.
On the wall opposite Mazinani’s “Golestan Palace Tiles” is Diyan Achjadi’s “Falling” (2015) and “Java Toile” (2015). Several copies of these prints hang side by side, one after the other, along the wall. The two prints resemble one another in design; they both contain ivory backgrounds with minimalistic images spotted across their surfaces. With these pieces, Achjadi works with Chinoiserie imagery and Javanese batik patterns.
The satellite exhibition of Pattern Migration was on display until September 11. The satellite exhibition at Square One will be on display until the extended date of October 24.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. The date for the end of the exhibition was incorrect. A notice will be printed in the September 19, 2016 issue.