reACT - Shrapnel 


Private View:  Wednesday, 18th October 2017, 18:00 - 20:00

Exhibition Dates: 19th October – 1st November 2017


Curator: Mishelle Farer

Artist: Michael Erdman


Shrapnel is a sculptural installation born out of the artist’s passion for languages, writing systems and methods of expression. Shrapnel seeks to challenge the common media representation of Arabic and Arab culture as violent, conducive to civil strife and terrorism. Shrapnel hopes to problematize the manner in which Arabic language and culture - and, for that matter, any language and culture - comes to be associated exclusively with one subset of expression and production, rather than a reflection of human creativity and ingenuity. With this in mind, Shrapnel “assaults” the audience with an explosion of comical figurines based on the letters of the Perso-Arabic script and adorned with the headgear of various Muslim communities. The figures, made out of synthetic clay, are assembled in clusters spelling out common Arabic and Persian phrases, such as “Welcome” or “beautiful”. Shrapnel shows Arabic and other languages of Asia and Africa to be languages of wit, satire and exceptionally creative literary and cultural production.

Michael Erdman was born and raised in Toronto. He completed university degrees in both Toronto and Barcelona. Throughout his 20s, Michael travelled to over 60 countries while working as an economist and then as a Consular Officer for the Canadian Foreign Service. He has lived and worked in Kuwait, El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Spain before coming to the United Kingdom in 2013. Since his arrival, he has pursued a Masters in Turkish Studies, followed by a MPhil/PhD program in Near and Middle East Studies at SOAS, University of London. He is currently awaiting examination of his doctoral thesis on the writing of history in Turkey and the Soviet Union in the 1920s. In the meantime, he works as the Curator of Turkish and Turkic Collections at the British Library. He spends much of his free time sculpting, drawing and painting, and otherwise seeking to marry language and creativity in a variety of media on his website 

reACT is an innovative program, established by P21 Gallery to promote and support emerging and student artists whose work is dedicated to or inspired by the Middle East & Arab world by providing a space within the P21 Gallery for an artistic intervention.


Press Information

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