Wake, by Shahrzad Ahrar, was on display this week within the Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery at California State University, Long Beach. Many different pieces were on display wig one single purpose. The wallpaper consisted of patterns with pictures to symbolize aspects of people’s experiences with moving to America. She also had four kaleidoscopes; Home, War, Transit, and America, each with images that characterize each. She also had three glass canvases and a large backlit billboard displayed, with complex images, again, representing the experiences of moving to America.
Ahrar has been moved to create a collection based on the interviews of four people that have moved to America from Afghanistan. All of these people experienced war within their homeland, hence why they moved here to begin with. The pop outs of the wallpaper contain images that display war, such as bombs, airplanes, guns, etc. There’s also pop outs containing symbols of their homeland, the transit process, and their new life in America. Ahrar is determined to show everyone that people in the Middle East are suffering to the point that they have no where else to go.
Personally, I think this exhibit is significant especially for the time we are in now. A lot of Americans have hard feelings toward the Middle East due to terrorism but that doesn’t mean we should fear them. There are normal civilians there just like us, dying everyday due to the conditions they live in. With that said, I really admire this collection and think her interactive kaleidoscopes were extremely creative.
Note: Shahrzad Ahrar is currently in the process of developing a website.