Installation creating a stir in 1st Choice Savings Centre

What is red, black, white and causing a stir? It's the new art installation in the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Health and Wellness.

Entitled Seek Knowledge Even Onto China by London, Ont. artist Jamelie Hassan, the work is a recent acquisition by the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery. It was purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program, Sam Hassan and an anonymous donor.

"Seek Knowledge Even Onto China is a deceptively simple work that consists of carrying out the artist's precise instructions for installation," explains
Dr. Josephine Mills, Director/Curator U of L Art Gallery.

"Those include painting the wall a specific shade of red and attaching the black and white vinyl lettering, which are scaled to fit the location and repeats the title of the work in Arabic and Chinese characters."

The Hassan work Seek Knowledge Even Onto China as it is being installed.

Seek Knowledge Even Onto China can be displayed either inside a gallery, as it was last year at the University of Lethbridge as part of a touring exhibition surveying Hassan's career, or in a public location as it is now. The work is a limited edition and thus, despite the technical ease to reproduce it, there is a limit on the number of works that can exist.

Internationally renowned, with an extensive exhibition history, Hassan's practice has been distinguished by her use of a wide range of media – ceramics, watercolours, bookworks, photographs, video and installations – from which she selects an approach appropriate to the task at hand.

"Her work is well suited for public art because of her use of text that connects with memory and identity and her interest in exploring cross-cultural exchange and communication," says Mills. "While travel has a significant influence on Hassan's creative output, equally important to her practice is her view on the world from her home in London. Her pioneering practice has steadfastly asserted that artists have a responsibility to address the critical issues of our time while her geographical location in southwestern Ontario grounds her practice."

Despite the influence of her home, Hassan's work is equally influenced by other places: her research and travels in Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and particularly in Lebanon, the homeland of her parents.

This installation is part of a new direction when it comes to public art on the
U of L campus.

"I'm interested in expanding the range of what we have for public art on campus," says Mills. "It can be installations like this work, or other options beyond sculpture or framed works."

This story first appeared in the February 2012 edition of The Legend. To view the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.