Bazaar, A Recollection of Home, review by Morgan Aguiar-Lucander
Hangama Amiri’s Bazaar actualizes its existence in our collective imagination. Granted, although it echoes a specific locale, the installation’s setting straddles the physical and the psychic. For while Amiri anchors us to a particular place through her use of language, the likeness of particular individuals and the materiality of the medium itself, the artist speaks to a transnational sense of belonging—extending far beyond the borders of Afghanistan.
In contrast to a mall, outlet or set of storefronts, a Bazaar is not solely a setting for transaction but by its nature solicits participation from those who enter; if one leaves empty handed from the Bazaar an exchange has occurred, even in the absence of a material purchase. Amiri’s Bazaar demands this same engagement from the viewer. We allow ourselves to be surprised, to find what we weren’t searching for, perhaps partially obscured behind this or that veil, and to carry forward what we found as we depart the world she has constructed for us.
Hangama asserts a subtle rebellion through her practice, aligning the audience with her pursuit simply through our engagement with the installation. The many voices emerging from a plethora of fabrics and scenes sing out as a unified harmony. Works such as Nail Salon #1 present a space for women, run by women, with details and traces of those who populate it literally sewn into the fabric of the space. Form, material and pictorial content are unified in Hangama’s Bazaar: not a reproduction, nor an empty shell, but rather a translocated home: a memory recalled, reconstituted and given.