This exhibition metaphorically centred around an artifact that belongs to the permanent collection of the Aga Khan Museum: a marble spoila from the Roman period that was used as a funerary stele in 987. This 20-inch high piece of marble, repurposed from an architectural section, has scrolling acanthus leaves on one side and Kufic script on the other that details the life of a leather merchant. What is remarkable about this spoila/stele, when considered in a contemporary way, is that it represents a narrative of how an object can hold many lives, many moments, and indeed multiple histories. It also speaks to how contemporary artists use found material, recycle, or repurpose one material for another to meet another means or to form another meaning altogether.
This exhibition brought artists together who themselves have layered cultural histories. The intent was to open up dialogues around failures of multiculturalism, nuances of identity, conceptual practices, rigorous thought, and work by artists who live both in Canada and abroad.
Stele from the collection of the Aga Khan Museum, Jaret Vadera, Elizabeth Zvonar