Many Tongues: Art, Language, and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia

26 October 2019–26 April 2020

Exhibition Overview


Many Tongues is the most historically extensive contemporary art exhibition to explore the relationship between the Middle East and South Asia in the US. It is an intergenerational exhibition of artists and their work that seeks to consider the shared histories of colonization and migration, religion, and tradition across the Middle East and South Asia. Spanning a period from 1947 to the present, the exhibition traces a history of this territory against a backdrop of de-colonization, and seeks to consider how the revolutionary politics of de-colonization created a space for transcultural exchange between these spaces and a culturally specific visual language.

Looking back from a 21st-century vantage point, the exhibition asks how we speak to the shifting metropolitan landscapes that have developed across and between North Africa, South Asia, and the West? Many Tongues presents a new cosmopolitanism that has emerged in these countries after the end of colonial rule in the 1940s and 1950s. Featuring more than 250 works of art in all media, this survey exhibition is organized thematically, exploring concepts of poetry, form, architecture, landscape, memory, and media. The exhibition is organized by MCA Senior Curator Omar Kholeif.

(Photo: Huguette Caland, Exit, 1970. Courtesy Huguette Caland Studio.)

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