In his first solo museum exhibition of work, Osman Khan re-reads the magical and fantastical figures found in folktales and lore, with a particular focus on those from South Asia, the Middle East, and other Muslim and immigrant traditions. Khan interprets these figures through contemporary technologies: this new body of work includes animatronic djinns, drone-operated flying carpets, and a storytelling Scheherezade AI (at right). Khan’s sprawling and wryly funny exhibition encourages us to reconsider–and perhaps rewrite–the narratives around identity, difference, and power reflected in and shored up by oft-retold tales.
About the Artist:
Osman Khan is a Detroit-based artist interested in constructing artifacts and experiences for social criticism and aesthetic expression. His work plays and subverts the materiality behind themes of identity, migration, and decolonization of knowledge and technologies through participatory & performative installations and site-specific interventions. He is currently a Professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.
Khan’s work has been shown at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA); the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD); the Cuenca Biennale, Ecuador; the Chicago Architecture Biennale, USA; the Shanghai Biennale, China; the Zero1 Festival, San Jose; Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Ars Electronica Center, Linz; Socrates Sculpture Park, NYC; Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids; Centro Internazionale per l’Arte Contemporanea, Rome; among others.
He is a recipient of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, an Art Matters grant, Ars Electronica’s Prix Ars Award of Distinction, and an Arctic Circle 2009 Residency. Articles about his work have appeared in numerous publications including Hyperallergic, Artforum, Art in America, I.D., LA Times, and The New York Times, among others.
In addition to his artistic practice, Khan is also Co-Director of the Indus Detroit Artist Residency + Culture Lab, co-curator of Halal Metropolis, a series of exhibitions and programs exploring Muslim identity in southeast Michigan, and a member of the cosmic jazz group the Astro Mystic Sama Ensemble.