Ala Ebtekar

Yael Kanarek

Exhibition: 27 January – 22 February 2010

Holster Projects is pleased to announce the opening of IN TRANSLATION featuring never before seen works by artists Ala Ebtekar and Yael Kanarek, and several of Kanarek’s installation pieces including Horizon.

In the textual works featured in this show, the artists examine the role of language, particularly with regards to its cultural implications.

Persian mythology, graffiti and hip-hop culture, Western military iconography, and comic book art might seem like quite disparate elements, but Ala Ebtekar combines these influences in his textual works in what he calls a “synthesis” of cultures. Inspired heavily by his upbringing by Iranian parents, his works use the merging of these elements to explore Iran past and present.

In A Breath of Air,2009 Ebtekar continues to use the tradition of Persian miniatures to analyse current events in an elegant archaic form. They remind us that the censoring of history has been the rule and not the exception throughout most of history: people now know that the news is doctored but before modern communications whole armies could fall without ever being heard. Originally drawing on the history of Iran – Iraq war which he had been brought up with the stories from his activist parents, the works are still relevant internationally.

Yael Kanarek’s multilingual compositions of works and narrative depict the charged spaces that exist between languages. Born in New York and raised in Israel, Kanarek explains, “English, Arabic, and Hebrew make up the semantic landscape of my childhood. By association, political conditions and media frame these languages in conflict. The art process allows for the simulation of alternative realities, and the works in this installation define an area for reflection–specifically on the tension between cultures.”

These Babel-esque creations, where text and image commingle, are an outgrowth of Kanarek’s ongoing digital project World of Awe. Started in 1995, World of Awe is an online travelogue where the artist has created an alternative universe, Sunset/Sunrise, in which the story of an anonymous traveler unfolds. Through the project, Kanarek aims to address issues such as gender, politics, language, and how we relate to online technology.