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Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture

Date May 18, 2011 - Nov 20, 2011
Artists Jamelie Hassan, Hamid Kachmar, Alia Toor and Tim Whiten
Curated by Patricia Bentley

Exhibition Overview

Four contemporary artists explore the relationship of patterns, communication and spirit in conversation with textiles and symbols from the Museum’s permanent collection of Islamic African artifacts. Magic squares, known all over the world as mathematical games like Sudoku and Kenken, become carriers of powerful and diverse cultural meanings when they are painted, woven or embroidered on textiles in Muslim Africa.

Related Programs and Events

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Artist Panel: Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture
Friday May 20, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Join artists Jamelie Hasssan, Tim Whiten, Alia Toor and Hamid Kachmar for a discussion of the intersections between their work and the richly diverse patterned imagination of Muslim Africa. Co-produced with Subtle Technologies and the Institute for Ismaili Studies. 
Members and Full-time students $20, Non-members $25. To purchase tickets please visit magicsquares.eventbrite.com.

Curator's Tour: Magic Squares through All the Senses
Wednesday June 15, 6:30 pm
Join Patricia Bentley for a tour of Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture, experiencing the exhibition through sound, touch, and smell as well as sight.
Free with admission.

2-Day Workshop: Silk Screen Geometric Patterns with Sharon Epstein
Saturday July 23 and Sunday July 24, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Join local artist Sharon Epstein for an exploration of creating geometric patterns using silk screen techniques. Participants will visit the exhibitions Silk Oasis on the Silk Road: Bukhara and Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture for inspiration for their designs, and do extensive hands-on work in the studio. Co-presented with the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op.
Members $120, Non-members $144, Full-time students $80. Materials $35. Advance registration is required, class size is limited. To register, call 416-599-5321 x2228.

Lecture: Magic, Perfume, Art...with Jim Drobnick
Wednesday September 21, 6:30 pm
Join Jim Drobnick, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the Ontario College of Art & Design University, as he addresses the growing phenomenon of smell in contemporary art, with a special focus on the artists in Magic Squares who employ scents for healing, spiritual pursuits and cultural identity.
Free for TMC Members and Full-time students, Non-members $15. Advance tickets may be purchased at the TMC's front desk. Please arrive early, seating is limited.

Curator's Tour: Magic Squares through All the Senses
Wednesday October 12, 6:30 pm
Join us in the galleries for a tour of Magic Squares: The Patterned Imagination of Muslim Africa in Contemporary Culture, experiencing the exhibition through sound, touch, and smell as well as sight.
Free with admission.

Initiation shirt, Burkina Faso, late 20th century, 69 x 65 cm, T91.0091
Alia Toor, <i>99 Names of Aman</i>, 2004, dust masks with cotton embroidery. Collection of the artist.
Hamid Kachmar, <i>Tiswengimin </i> (series of 20), 2010, mixed media, 30 x 30 cm. Collection of the artist.
Tim Whiten, <i>Mary’s Permeating Sign</i>, 2006, cast glass, pillow, edition of 2, 11.5 x 60 x 11.5 cm. Photo: Image courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery.
Jamelie Hassan, ¿<i> (Manuscript Page)</i>, 2004, colour photograph and neon light on panel, 60 x 76 cm. Collection of Museum London.
View Collection Artifacts from this Exhibition