The 2018-2020 Vancouver Biennale exhibition was officially launched at Vanier Park this week with the unveiling of Ajlan Gharem‘s Paradise Has Many Gates – a chain link mosque.
While the Saudi artist’s architectural chain-link sculpture structurally resembles a traditional mosque, its use of unconventional materials and visual transparency challenges notions of religious orthodoxy and encourages communities of all faiths to “reimagine” a space free from Islamophobia.
More on the exhibit from the Vancouver Biennale:
Created from chainlink fence this artwork can evoke feelings of imprisonment and anxiousness by way of its caged structure. By designing the structure in the form of a mosque, an Islamic sacred and community space, young Saudi Arabian artist Ajlan Gharem questions the role of religion in society, especially amongst a younger generation to whom ideas and knowledge are valued over traditional religious and spiritual beliefs.
In a world of mass migration and refugee crises, this artwork invites us to think about the role of fences as physical and psychological deterrents that can isolate and divide people and ideas. Is this mosque, located in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, inviting us all, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to see through what traditionally divides us and look toward creating experiences that will unite us?
Last modified: June 28, 2018