WASHINGTON DC — Gallery 102 presents Sobia Ahmad: Imbrications, the first solo exhibition of our 2019 Summer Solo Series. Including installation, sculpture, video, textiles, and performance, the exhibition maps the relationship between identity and power. The term imbrication describes the overlapping pattern that organizes the exhibition — a structure made whole by its parts. Several of the works on view capture the reverberating implication of legal language on immigrant communities. Ahmad extracts such legal language from its intended use, re-contextualizing it into a framework that points to its effects on our social psyche. How do we identify the other through language? How do we justify this othering? How do we “other” through language? The exhibition denotes the potent overlap and inextricability of the personal with the political.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s acclaimed novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, she writes, “if you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” Sobia Ahmad: Imbrications illustrates that process of unpacking and vocalizing pain, not for the consumption of a colonialist gaze, but to relieve oneself from the pressures to perform and conform. As much as the work is rooted in Ahmad’s experience, it is equally about a larger American narrative of exclusion and violence.