- Contemporary Art at the Gardner
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- Maurizio Cannavacciuolo: A Lecture on Martian History
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- (TAPESTRY) RADIO ON: New Work by Victoria Morton at the Gardner
- Points of View: 20 Years Artists-in-Residence at the Gardner
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- Sculpture and Memory: Works from the Gardner and by Luigi Ontani
- Henrik Håkansson: Cyanopsitta spixii Case Study #001
- Michele Iodice: A Pagan Feast
- Variations On a Theme by Sol Lewitt and Paula Robison
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- Dayanita Singh: Chairs
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- Juan Muñoz: Portrait of a Turkish Man Drawing
- Denise Marika: New Works by Denise Marika
- Dorit Cypis: The Body in the Picture
- Artists By Year
Ambreen Butt: I Need a Hero
JANUARY - JUNE, 2017 | NEW WING FAÇADE
Ambreen Butt is the ninth Artist-in-Residence to create a temporary site-specific work for the Museum’s façade. Trained as a miniature painter in Lahore, Pakistan, Ambreen uses the dramatic imagery and storytelling of this traditional art form to comment on contemporary issues.
This piece is part of the series she calls I Need a Hero, which was initially inspired by the story of the young Pakistani woman Mukhtar Mai. In 2002, Mai was brutally raped by order of her village tribal council as punishment for speaking out against archaic codes of justice. Refusing to be silenced, Mai became a spokesperson for women’s rights in Pakistan, eventually starting two schools for girls and a crisis center for abused women.
The stories in the I Need a Hero series explore the ways women struggle to find and use their own power. In the Gardner façade piece, the heroine fights a dragon (below) and a monkey-like creature (above) that may represent her inner and outer demons: her confident pose suggests she will conquer them both. The struggle takes place against the background of a dollar bill, a reminder of today’s global economy. Other young women look at her expectantly from below and above, as if to ask: Is she the one? Is she is our hero? Taking center stage, she must now live up to expectations. As you look more closely, see what other ideas and interpretations you can find.
The Gardner is proud to present Ambreen's work as part of the legacy of our founder, herself a courageous, daring woman whose ambitious vision led to the creation of this museum, dedicated to the “education and enjoyment of the public forever.”
The Artist-in-Residence Program is directed by the Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, and is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Barbara Lee Program Fund. Funding is also provided for site specific installations of new work on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade on Evans Way. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and administered by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.
Media Sponsor: Boston Magazine.
Image: Artist Rendering, Photo © Clements, 2017.
Ambreen Butt was born in Lahore, Pakistan and received her BFA in traditional Indian and Persian miniature painting from the National College of Arts in Lahore. In 1993 she moved to Boston, Massachusetts, earning her MFA in painting in 1997 from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Since then, her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, and acquired for both public and private collections. collections. She has received numerous awards including the including the Brother Thomas Fellowship from the Boston Foundation and the Maud Morgan Prize from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1999, she was the first recipient of the James and Audrey Foster Prize given by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and was invited to be an artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that same year. Ambreen recently moved to Dallas, Texas with her husband and children.