WEEK 1 ASSIGNMENTS
Hiba Abdallah is an Arabic contemporary artist (who completed her MFA at the University of Guelph!) interested in exploring the varying politics and social beliefs of communities. Her work is almost always public, either through collaboration with other artists, or with the general public.
Commissioned by the MOCA in Toronto, ON, Rehearsing Disagreement is a series of participatory works by Hiba and artist Justin Langlois. Included is a dartboard, seesaw, and customizable worksheet style text pieces that museum-goers can interact with. All works in this series investigate conflict of opinions and allow people to co-exist in their disagreement. Not only this, but the interactive manner of these art pieces break down barriers of what art galleries have been stereotyped as in the past – sterile, quiet environments where the viewer cannot touch and interact with art on a tactile level.
Something Written to the White House
Something Written to the White House is an ongoing text based art initiative in which the public can write postcards to the White House that are later on sent (According to rules set in place by the institution, all letters MUST be opened and read by the White House). This text based art initiative connects to another ongoing art initiative of Hiba’s: Something Written in the Arabic Language. The fronts of the postcards sent to the White House literally translate to “Something Written in the Arabic Language”, serving as a tongue-in-cheek mockery of the racism and absolutely ill-placed fear towards Muslim people that was especially prevalent during Trump’s presidency. Retrieved from Hiba’s website, these hand-written messages display a wide array of personal messages for Trump in particular.
Overall, both of these pieces by Hiba Abdallah employ text-based artwork to display different opinions the public. I like the way Hiba presents these contemporary art pieces because they appeal to a childlike part of the brain while still remaining introspective. They are different from other forms of public text because the message of said text is entirely up to the participator, not the artist.