Gardens — whether real or imagined — can be spaces of creation and optimism in the face of the climate crisis. Night in the Garden of Love is a multisensory exhibition by British artist Shezad Dawood, inspired by African-American Muslim musician, composer, and polymath (Allāmah) Dr. Yusef Lateef (1920 – 2013). In this multilayered exhibition, the garden serves as the starting point for a creative futuristic and intercultural conversation in which art and music can help transform the individual and the environment. Dawood sparks a transformational mindset as audiences are guided through VR, textile works, music, scent, and imagined plants that respond to digital algorithms.
Night in the Garden of Love is a dynamic conversation between Dawood and Lateef's artistic practices and philosophical approaches, inspiring visions of alternative futures through transformative creativity in a turbulent world. This call-and-response between these gifted practitioners is reminiscent of exchanges in musical improvisation. Environmentalism is positioned as a search for solutions that take place in the community and through creativity.
Step into an enthralling VR environment inspired by Lateef’s novella, listen to Lateef’s music and view his drawings, explore a stunning collection of textile paintings, and watch algorithmically generated plants flourish and sway harmoniously as they respond to a new Autophysiopsychic musical score performed by Lateef’s former collaborators and peers. Night in the Garden of Love weaves elements of fiction, virtual reality, and real-life experiences, placing you at the heart of a creative conversation between Dawood and Lateef.
Take a closer look at exhibition highlights by exploring our Curator's Picks.
Get a sneak peek into the captivating 2-player VR experience:
This exhibition is produced in partnership with WIELS.
Shezad Dawood (b.1974) was born in London, where he lives and works. He studied at Central St Martin's, the Royal College of Art and Leeds Metropolitan University. Dawood is a Senior Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Dawood interweaves stories, realities, and symbolism to create richly layered artworks spanning painting, textiles, sculpture, film and digital media. Fascinated by ecologies and architecture, his work takes a philosophical approach, asking questions and exploring alternative futures through what Dawood describes as 'world-building' and 'imagineering.' His practice is animated by research, working with multiple audiences and communities to delve into narrative, history and embodiment.
Yusef Lateef was a Grammy Award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, author, visual artist, educator, and philosopher who was a major force on the international music scene for more than six decades. Until his passing on December 23, 2013, at age 93, Lateef remained vital and active as a touring and recording artist, composer, and educator. Prolific in the American music genre known as jazz, Lateef went on to introduce instruments and sounds from around the world into his compositions. Notably, Lateef developed a methodology called Autophysiopsychic music, a holistic approach to music that centers on the spiritual, physical, and emotional self.
Special Projects Curator: Marianne Fenton
The Aga khan Museum acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.