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“Beneath Our Feet–Above Our Heads: The Stories Hats and Shoes Tell”

Everyday, when we choose which hats and shoes to wear we are communicating. We are telling people where we are from, who we are, and what we believe. Hats and shoes can protect us from the climate. They can be functional or impractical. They can create group cohesion. They can convey emotion. Where we live, we all wear hats and shoes.

This exhibition is located in the Textile Research Room in MOA’s Multiversity Galleries. It was curated by the UBC students of ANTH 431: Museum Practice and Curatorship.

Image credit: Design courtesy of ANTH 431 class.


Contemporary Art from Afghanistan: Graffiti Works by Shamsia Hassani

Works by Shamsia Hassani, originally featured in the Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia exhibition (2017) are now on display in Case 108 in the Multiversity Galleries.

Shamsia Hassani شمسیا حسنی (b. Iran, 1988) is regarded as the first female graffiti artist from Afghanistan. Through her art, she aims to colour over the sad memories of wars and to bring positive changes to society. Her work often depicts women in burqas, and fish. When she cannot work on the street, she creates a “dreaming graffiti” by painting on photographic images of her city. What about the Dead Fish? (2011) and Words (2012) were originally painted on building walls in Kabul, Afghanistan while Dreaming Graffiti (2012) is from her “dreaming graffiti series”. Learn more about the artist on her Facebook page.

Image Credit: [MOA collection 3280/3] Words by Shamsia Hassani


Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy From Asia

Asia has an enormous diversity of languages and writing systems. Writing, especially calligraphy, has been a revered art form and has played an important social and political role in Asian traditions ranging from religious texts in Sanskrit to Islamic and Chinese calligraphy. The Asian collection at MOA contains over 18,000 items, about 40 percent of the total holdings, and is the largest collection at the Museum. There is a little known collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Persian calligraphy, as well as various manuscripts such as Southeast Asian palm leaf manuscripts, woodblocks for printing and objects with inscriptions. The items featured in Case 76 in the Multiversity Galleries are the highlights of this collection of approximately 250 items.

Image credit: Shinpan neko no tenarai (New impression: Cats take calligraphy lessons),  MOA Collection: N2.1181


Rapid Response Case

How should museums respond to current events or issues in the world? MOA started the Rapid Response Case initiative in September 2017, to curate a small display case in the lobby to address pressing issues of the moment by making connections to what we do at MOA.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rapid Response case is not currently on display. Instead we have transitioned it into an online initiative called the Responsive Dialogues series in order to continue promoting constructive social activism that aims to create positive change through digital channels.

Responsive Dialogues: Racism in Canada

See past Rapid Response Cases


Contemporary Korean Art: Wire Sculptures By Key-Sook Geum

Newly acquired works, Blue JangOt (2015) and Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) by Key-Sook Guem are now on display in Case 73 in Multiversity Galleries. Key-Sook Geum (금기숙) is an artist, fashion designer, and scholar from the Republic of Korea. Having taught and worked in fashion design, Geum combines art with fashion in her exquisite wire sculptures in the shape of women’s clothing.

Guem is inspired by the shapes and styles of clothing from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). They tell stories about the people who wore them: their lives, aesthetics, and philosophies. Blue JangOt (2015) represents the jangot, a veil in the shape of an overcoat worn by noble women during the Joseon Dynasty. Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) is in the shape of the jeogori, a traditional shirt worn over the chima, a long, sleeveless dress.

Image credit:  [MOA collection 3284/2]. Dream in Green JoGoRe. Made by Key-Sook Geum.