The most extensive contemporary art exhibition in the Western world to explore the relationship between the Middle East and South Asia, Many Tongues: Art, Language, and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia, argues that a new cosmopolitanism has emerged in these countries since the end of colonial rule in the 1940s and 1950s. This landmark exhibition self-reflexively examines, deconstructs, and returns to concepts of modernity, mapping divergent routes to the contemporary.
Highlighting works that span from 1947 to the present, the exhibition traces shared histories of colonization and migration, and religion and tradition across the Middle East and South Asia. It also considers how the revolutionary politics of decolonization has contributed to transcultural exchange between these regions and created a culturally specific visual language. This intergenerational exhibition, which features more than 250 works of art in all media, is organized thematically, exploring concepts of abstraction, poetry, form, architecture, landscape, memory, archives, and media.
Many Tongues imagines a world where the language of art contorts and shifts to the contours of different territories and their historical sediments. By creating a historical opening between the past and the present, this exhibition presents artists working across the Middle East and South Asia to explore ideas about artistic and cultural hybridity between different regions. Looking back from a 21-century vantage point, the exhibition asks: How do museums speak to the shifting metropolitan landscapes that have developed across and between the Middle East and South Asia? How can an exhibition complicate ideas of geography, and indeed narrate the relationship between the East and the West?
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website