Image: Rug 2
Feb. 2 – Dec. 31, 2022
Second Floor Atrium
Artist and metalsmith Zahra Almajidi uses both traditional and contemporary techniques in her work with craft objects. Pulling influence from her parents’ background as Marsh Arabs (in southern Iraq) forced to migrate and resettle, Almajidi takes folk art to another level. The objects she re/creates reflect both the original meaning and new stories we may see as viewers several steps removed.
Almajidi was an AANM Artist-in-Residence in October and November of 2021. Referencing traditional folk items in our permanent collection, she reframed motifs and their narratives into her own art, on display in this exhibition, along with some of the reference objects.
This exhibition and the Artist + Residents program are funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“My work explores cultures, specifically the assimilation and erasure of cultures. These themes often take shape as highly detailed and decorative objects that have cultural significance and show signs of, or investigate, social influences. I exaggerate either the surface detail, texture, or shape of my art jewelry transforming the recognizable into vaguely distinguishable objects. As a result, I emphasize the contradictions—the absurdities—that I observe daily, particularly, extant tensions between assimilation and opposition.
The disarming decorative elements, alluring colors, and wearability of the work pique the viewers’ interest, and they are often left with the desire to wear the work without understanding the implications of doing so.
The significance of the themes and the process through which I create allow me to realize the space I occupy in the cultures I have inhabited. The increasingly blurred cultural specificity of my art extends my body’s struggle for identification.”
Zahra Almajidi is a visual artist and metalsmith raised and based in Detroit, MI. Utilizing both traditional metalsmithing techniques and CAD/CAM processes, her work explores the ways in which objects and adornment allow one to question and contend with what it means to exist and to resist within a culture that hesitates to recognize and accept one as they are. She has worked at several art fabrication spaces in Metro Detroit including Wayne State University where she received her BFA in Metalsmithing, Lawrence Technological University where she briefly served as shop co-manager, and Cranbrook Academy of Art where she was awarded the Cranbrook Art Director’s fellowship and recently received her MFA in Metalsmithing. She is currently the Assistant Technology Coordinator at Cranbrook Academy of Art as well as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University.