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Halsey underway in its fall 'Dis/placements' project

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Jiha Moon

"You and I Fortune" by artist Jiha Moon, who is one of 10 artists and 10 writers participating in the "Dis/placements" project at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston. Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art/provided.

Now more than ever, the pandemic turns our thoughts and hearts homeward. Whether confronting the isolation of being closed in, or, at other times, the pain of being shut out, our current paradigm hits home for everyone.

With that in mind, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art this fall rolled out "Dis/placements: Revisitations of Home," a project that takes place over the remaining months of 2020 that sheds vital new light on the universal subject.

The project features 10 artists drawn from previous partnerships with the Halsey and whose works grapple with issues of displacement from their ancestral homeland. Each presents works that speak to their own reminiscences of home.

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Katie Hirsch, curator and director of strategic partnerships at the Halsey, and the project manager for "Dis/placements," views the project as a quintessential Halsey Institute effort. She said it is at once responsive to themes both immediate and enduring, from the lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic to the very concept of home in all its facets as a formative dimension of the human condition.

"Home is represented by the past, by the future, by the landscape and by the body itself," Hirsch said. "Each of the artists was paired with a writer who penned responses that range from academic, to poetic, to highly personal. These responsive texts offer another lens through which to consider the images."

The artists also were paired with writers who offer their own reflections on the work and its theme. When taken together, this collection of work provides an opportunity to consider the traits and aspects that are both similar and jarringly disparate, from Asia to Africa, to Europe and the Middle East.

Atlanta-based and Korean-born artist Jiha Moon, for example, draws from her 2015 solo show at the Halsey to examine the differences and similarities in Easter and Western aesthetic approaches. For the project, she considers experiences of race as an Asian immigrant, with input from curator/writer Lilly Wei.

This week, the project added new content from Bosnian American artist Tanja Softic, who has partnered with writer Marian Mazzone to explore her impressions of displacement from her homeland.

On Oct. 27, the project will host an online screening of Hamid Rahmanian’s film version of "Feathers of Fire." A shadow puppet play based on the Persian epic, "Shahnameh," it features vibrant graphics derived from the visual tradition of the Middle East that are rendered as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography and digital animation. 

A question-and-answer session with designer and director Hamid Rahmanian will follow on Zoom directly after the screening.

For more information on the project and to register for the screening, visit the project website at displacements.org

Follow Maura Hogan on Twitter at @msmaurahogan.

Maura Hogan is the arts critic at The Post and Courier. She has previously written about arts, culture and lifestyle for The New York Times, Gourmet, Garden & Gun, among other publications.