In an unassuming corner of downtown Vancouver, a portal to Baghdad awaits.Installed recently at Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) and timed perfectly for George W. Bush’s recent Freudian slip about invasions, Abbas Akhavan’s cast for a folly (2019-22) evokes both the spirit of Iraq’s looted national museum and a whole new round of heritage destruction.Inspired as was its first iteration in 2019—commissioned by the CCA Wattis Institute in San Francisco—by a photograph of the lobby of the Iraqi National Museum taken in 2003 by Corine Wegene, director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, it now occupies a different time and space, in a nation that was officially not part of the invasion.Now located at the epicentre of “Vancouverist” displacement, where old warehouse and artists’ lofts where the rent was cheap rent are being replaced by shiny new residential towers unaffordable to most citizens—and in the gallery named for the artist B.C. Binning, whose iconic mid-century house is being ransacked in its own way—the location unwittingly underscores the sense of “geo-trauma” that Akhavan says is at the centre of his work.

Source: Art Newspaper

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