Marymount University’s Cody Gallery Presents Negar Ahkami The Taking

By Editorial Team on October 29, 2018

Thu, 01 November 2018 - Sat, 15 December 2018

Negar Ahkami, The Caftan, Gesso, acrylic and glitter on canvas stretched on panel, 66″ x 48″, 2018. Photo: Adam Reich.
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 1 from 6pm to 8 pm

The Taking is named after an installation of 29 painted fragments and accompanying wall text that recalls a museum display of ceramic fragments. Each painted fragment depicts a detail of actual source material, such as an Italian altarpiece, Ancient Greek pottery, a Vermeer painting, and Majolica tiles. At first glance, they may be identified as primarily Western. However, the wall captions focus on the fragments’ connections to the visual legacy of Iran and its neighbors, treating any connection–however tenuous–as central instead of footnoted. The Taking reflects on cultural appropriation, the politics of attribution, as well as the emotional need to take liberties, and build a new narrative from scraps.

Also included in the exhibition is a range of fantastical paintings that both inspire and are inspired by The Taking. The paintings mine the ambiguous state of fear and adoration often realized when encountering different cultures stereotyped as “Other.” In The Caftan, Ahkami offers a dizzying send-up of enthrallment with the exotic. In this painting, as is typical of Ahkami’s practice, Ahkami builds bas-reliefs of gesso, and paints in visceral, repeated glazes of acrylic paint. The effect resembles Iranian ceramic traditions, at the same time as it conjures global iterations of blue and white ceramics and Majolica. In Iranian ceramics, Ahkami finds real global connections as well as a freeing, unrestrictive sense of the hand that serves her expressionistic impulses.

Gallery Hours:

  • Thursday – Saturday 12pm-6pm
  • or by appointment

Cody Gallery @ Marymount University is located at 1000 N. Glebe Rd, 2nd Floor, Arlington, VA. For more information, call (703)-908-7782 or email