Middle East Studies

Masterclass 1 | Amitis Motevalli | Authenticity on Trial: Questioning the Archive of Indigeneity Through The Diasporic Body

Amitis Motevalli Masterclass Authenticity on Trial

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

2:00-4:00 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room (353)
111 Thayer St.

Please note that this non-credit masterclass will be capped at 20 participants.
Open to Brown and RISD undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty only. 

Apply here. Brief applications are required. You will be asked your name, whether you are faculty, a graduate student or an undergraduate student, and ask why you would be interested in attending this class. You will receive a subsequent email with your confirmation. The deadline for application has been extended to Tuesday, April 13.
Please reach out to cmes@brown.edu if physical accommodation is needed.

About the Masterclass:
The class will look at some of the performance work as well as collectives started by Amitis Motevalli. This will include interventions, actions and protests in public as well as staged performances and private rituals. In this class, Motevalli will present pieces that give people that opportunity to be “viewer” or “participant". Some of these pieces engage the public, while others reach out and work with specific communities. We see the expression of identity through the body within public and private space and expressions of belonging and rejection. 

We will also discuss the works of other artists who have struggled with belonging while also searching for personal history, community, historical archive and nationhood through the use of their body and ritual or habitual actions. We will look at specific actions by the following artists: William Pope L., James Luna, Nao Bustamante, Ulysses Jenkins, Khaled Jarrar, Tsedaye Makonnen, Kenneth Tam, Guadalupe Rosales, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Mona Hatoum, Walid Raad.

This non-credit class is the first of two masterclasses that will be taught by Amitis Motevalli this Spring. It is open to Brown and RISD undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The areas of focus will be of particular interest to students in Middle East Studies, performance art, new media and new genres, social practice, psychology, anthropology, migration & diaspora studies as well as history. 

*Image at left is taken from Motevalli's Stretch Manifesto series (2018)



About the Artist:
Amitis Motevalli is an artist who explores the cultural resistance and survival of people living in poverty, conflict and/or war. Her experiences as a trans-national migrant and community organizing are foundational in her work and research. Through many media, digital, analog, static and live, her work juxtaposes and contrasts iconography with iconoclasm, memorials with monuments, archive methodologies with canon. Her work intends to ask questions about archiving, documentation and canonization of histories, in particular related to violence. In this line of questioning she subverts populism by invoking the significance of a secular grassroots struggle. She is primarily based  in Los Angeles, exhibiting art internationally as well as organizing to create an active and critical cultural discourse through information exchange—either in art or pedagogy—with cultural producers and educators.