For upcoming Currents exhibition, artist Mariam Ghani shot short film in St. Louis

By | February 25, 2015
Mariam Ghani. Photograph by Lyric Hunter. Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York.

Mariam Ghani
Photograph by Lyric Hunter. Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York.

The New York Times recently profiled Mariam Ghani, focusing on the Brooklyn-based artist’s relationship with her father, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The article briefly mentioned something we’re particularly excited about:

“Ms. Ghani is also delving into controversy closer to home. She has a teaching fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, which happened to coincide with the Ferguson protests in October. She is now producing a short film for the Saint Louis Art Museum based, loosely, on the noir novel The City & the City, by China Miéville.”

That film, a fictional narrative with elements drawn from St. Louis’ past and present, is just one component of Currents 110: Mariam Ghani, which opens April 8. Ghani shot The City & the City in Kinloch and in the gutted Cotton Belt Freight Depot just north of downtown with her longtime collaborator, Erin Ellen Kelly, a choreographer and a St. Louis native. The exhibition also will include Ghani’s Like Water From a Stone, a 2014 video that sets Norway’s tranquil beauty against reminders of the German occupation during World War II and the perils of the present-day petroleum industry.

<em>The City &amp; The City: Cotton Belt Freight Depot</em>, 2015; inkjet print mounted on aluminum; 30 x 40 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Ryan Lee Gallery ©Mariam Ghani

The City & The City: Cotton Belt Freight Depot, 2015; inkjet print mounted on aluminum; 30 x 40 inches; Courtesy of the artist and RYAN LEE, New York ©Mariam Ghani

As this year’s Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Fellow, Ghani has been completing a residency at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University while developing the Currents exhibition at the Art Museum.

Born in 1978 in New York, Ghani received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She currently is a visiting scholar at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute. Her video and photographic installations investigate built and natural landscapes, such as Kabul, Afghanistan and Kassel, Germany, which have layered and complicated histories. Ghani’s work has been featured at major museums and film festivals, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2013); dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany (2012); the Sharjah Biennial 10 in the United Arab Emirates (2011); and the Modern Mondays series at the Museum of Modern Art (2011).

Ghani will discuss the exhibition at a free lecture in the Museum’s Farrell Auditorium on Tuesday, April 7 at 6:30 pm.

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