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March 18, 2023 – May 20, 2023

Opening Reception Hours: 6 PM - 9 PM, Saturday, March 18, 2023

Artist Talk: 7 PM


Hawthorn Contemporary is pleased to announce the exhibition opening of Dancing on Myth’s Stage, exhibition featuring paintings and drawings of Zuhal Feraidon and Aparna Sarkar.


The works in the exhibition are inspired by Indo-Persian art history and cultural iconography, an influence based on each artist's personal heritage. Zuhal Feraidon was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to the US as a refugee of war in 2005; Aparna Sarkar is first-generation Indian-American. Their inherited histories are recorded through painting and drawing; they explore different facets of intersectional, evolving, and ever-growing identity through creative representation. The exhibition title comes from artist Chitra Ganesh's entry for "Myth" in Shifter Magazine’s 2016 Dictionary of the Possible, a project that reflects the questions and musings from a year of discussion amongst artists, writers, philosophers, activists, and others at the New School in New York.


In the paintings, figures swim within luminous swaths of color, fighting against the current of gradients, navigating contemporary conflicts with finesse and resilience. Mythic figures scaffold both artists’ works–characters are often in-motion and exuberant, with a dancer’s strength. They are calls to action, projections of the artists’ selves and their kin. Feraidon makes paintings in solidarity with women in Afghanistan, depicting Afghan women in resilience and power. Sarkar is interested in the shapeshifting body: she plays with gender and queer desire in her iconic forms and allows color and mark to sometimes take over until the abstracted structure of a painting obliterates its legible figuration. There’s an honoring of the elements in both artists’ paintings: the ancient currents of earth, fire, air, and water run deep. Transparencies can describe the permeability of the barrier between past and present, the diaphanous traces of ancestry that remain in the new ways we live and think.


Zuhal Feraidon received her undergraduate degree in Studio Arts from The University of Virginia (UVA) and her MFA in Painting from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She currently teaches as an Assistant Professor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Her select exhibition record in the United States includes Monya Rowe Gallery and Field Projects Gallery in New York City, Glendale Central Library California, The Rhode Island Convention Center, and IX Art Park Virginia among others. Her work has been featured by The University of Edinburgh's The Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Scotland, U.K. She has been published in a book titled "The Art of Being Dangerous: Exploring Women and Danger through Creative Expression" by Leuven University Press in Belgium. She is a member of Women Forward International’s Arts Advisory Committee and Counsel based in Washington, DC. She is a recipient of The Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design Fellowship. 


Aparna Sarkar holds an MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Mathematics from Pomona College. Her awards include selection for the 2022 Saatchi Art Rising Stars Report, a 2022 residency at the Jentel Foundation, inclusion in the 2019 editorial selection of Art Maze Magazine, and the 2018 Meredith Morabito and Henrietta Mantooth Full Fellowship.  She works and teaches in Brooklyn, NY.

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