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Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties

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  1. ssJamelie Hassan, Because...there was

    Jamelie Hassan, Because . . . there was and there wasn't a city of Baghdad, 1991. Billboard, 285.0 x 650.0 cm. Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia. Purchased with the financial support of The Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and Salah J. Bachir, 2005. Photo: Howard Ursuliak.

  2. ssJamelie Hassan ن [noon]

    Jamelie Hassan, ن [pronounced 'noon'], 2009.
    Neon, ceramic tile mounted on plywood,
    122.0 x 122.0 x 15.0 cm. Collection of the artist.
    Photo: John Tamblyn.

  3. ss

    Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words. Exhibition catalogue. 100 pages, colour images. Soft cover. Essays/Writings by Melanie Townsend, Scott Watson, Mahmoud Darwish, Dot Tuer, Cliff Eyland, Monika Kin Gagnon, Mireya Folch-Serra, Scott Toguri McFarlane and Andy Patton. $20.00.
    ISBN# 978-1-897215-23-4 — To order contact:, tel. 604.822.2759,
    fax. 604.822.6689.

Jamelie Hassan

At the Far Edge of Words

June 18 - August 22, 2010

Reception Thursday, June 17, 8:00 - 10:00 pm

Artist Talk Saturday, June 19, 1:00 - 2:30 pm

More works of art in this exhibition are presented on campus at
Walter C. Koerner Library, 1958 Main Mall
Museum of Anthropology, 6393 N.W. Marine Drive

Since the 1970s, Jamelie Hassan’s work has been influenced by cultural politics, social activism, and her background as a Canadian born to Arab parents. Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words is the first survey of the work of this award-winning, London, Ontario artist. The exhibition includes over two dozen paintings, drawings, photographs, multi-media installations, as well as the billboard—Because . . . there was and there wasn’t a city of Baghdad.

Throughout her career, Hassan has maintained that artists have a responsibility to address the important issues of their time. The works in this show, produced from 1971 to 2009, indicate her abiding interest in cultural history and the issues of exclusion, human rights, and justice.

Because . . . there was and there wasn’t a city of Baghdad, the readily seen billboard project placed on the outside wall of the Belkin Art Gallery, features a photograph that Hassan took in the late 1970s during her first visit to Baghdad where she was an Arabic language student. The billboard was conceived as a response to the Gulf War in 1991. Within six months of the war, the billboard was displayed in the Canadian city centres of Windsor, London, and then later in Vancouver. The work is compelling when set against the context of politics, economics, and international conflict. Though nearly two decades has passed since the Gulf War, Hassan’s evocative combination of text and image continues to resonate.

Works of art in this exhibition are also presented on the campus of The University of British Columbia: one at the Museum of Anthropology (6393 Northwest Marine Drive) and one at Walter C. Koerner Library (1958 Main Mall).

Jamelie Hassan has travelled extensively throughout North America, Mexico, Cuba, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She works as an artist, writer, curator, and lecturer. Her work is represented in major collections across Canada including the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Glenbow Museum (Calgary), and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Hassan has received numerous awards for her work including the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts in 2001.

Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words is curated by Melanie Townsend and Scott Watson and co-organized by Museum London and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at The University of British Columbia. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that includes essays by Cliff Eyland, Mireya Folch-Serra, Monika Kin Gagnon, Andy Patton, Scott Toguri McFarlane, and Dot Tuer. This exhibition was presented at Museum London (March 7 to May 30, 2009) and will be shown at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (September 16 to October 29, 2010) and the Carleton University Art Gallery (November 26, 2012 to February 3, 2013). This project was made possible with support from the City of London, the Ontario Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts. We thank the Museum of Anthropology and Walter C. Koerner Library at The University of British Columbia for participating in this exhibition.


The following comments have been entered at a kiosk available to visitors to the gallery. Only the 10 most recent comments are shown, see more on the comments page.

Marcos S Abrahao from Sao Paulo, Brazil at 2:53 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Jacquie from Victoria, BC at 3:53 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

Wow. Great exhibition. The Los Desaparecidos was one of those striking works. I could translate it.. someone commented they thought it was "newspapers" .. no it was very sad.

francois from france at 2:58 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

this reminds me of two things (amongst many others) : 1. That the people we westerners bomb and enslave in the name of "progress", "security" and "war on terror" do actually have names, families, traditions and self-respect. 2. That this insanity is happening now. At the very moment I'm writing this comment, neo-fascist oppression is adding another victim on the list of insanity. Somewhere, there are people dying so that "we" keep enjoying the rewards of imperial brutality. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Linnea from Vancouver at 1:21 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

I was very pleased with the multi-media nature of the exhibit. The clay pieces were so tactile I wanted to touch them but resisted. The melding of culture worlds expressed through many of the pieces added another dimension.

Hassan/ Scott from Cairo / Egypt at 1:19 pm Wednesday, August 4, 2010

- Mahmoud Darwish`s D.O.B years is incorrectlty translated into Arabic,what you read is that he is born on 1491.

Tammy from New Orleans, LA USA at 4:31 pm Friday, July 30, 2010

I really get a "feeling" when I look at this art. Its an eerie mixture though because of the music, good job. I like the use of the floor rather than the wall.

Si Hang, Xie from Richmond, BC at 11:51 am Thursday, July 29, 2010

Very impressive and shocking exhibition of the forgotten edge of the ancients. Great art works & keep up.

John at 1:05 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What is it - ART? Ok - I've learned something. Sorry, but I call it crazy!

Zenagui from Belgium at 3:40 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Very interesting work. Strong message is delivered to actual and future generations.

Fiki-George, D. O. from Nigeria at 12:03 pm Thursday, July 15, 2010

Very impressive to see the expression of a great political will in another aesthetic dimension.Great and wonderful.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689