Next Exhibitions

Sa’dia Rehman: the river runs slow and deep and all the bones of my ancestors / have risen to the surface to knock and click like the sounds of trees in the air

Artist Residency | World Premiere

A Quran wrapped in leather, cloth, and twine. It sits on rocks in shallow water of the Indus River.

Wex Artist Residency Award recipient Sa’dia Rehman’s solo exhibition explores the embodiment of memory, grief, displacement, and multiple histories and geographies.

Titled after a poem by Sa’dia Rehman’s sister Bushra, this new body of work is inspired by the displacement of their family from Pakistan in 1974 by the building of the Tarbela Dam on the Indus River. Beyond their family history, Rehman unearths a global history of land and water—along with narratives of passages and home—through archival research and dialogues with relatives, community members, scientists, and environmentalists.

The center’s unique, wedge-shaped gallery space acts as a vessel for a selection of drawings, sculptures, textiles, works on paper, and video generated from Rehman’s research. The project will evolve during the exhibition to evoke archiving in real time, as well as a sense of being suspended between homeland and migration.

Curated by Director of Learning & Public Practice Dionne Custer Edwards, the river runs slow is a result of three years in residence with the center’s Department of Learning & Public Practice, where Rehman collaborated with artists, educators, and practitioners in the community. They will continue this work through programming that coincides with the exhibition. A gallery guide will include a text by Dionne Custer Edwards and a dialogue between Rehman and curator, writer, and educator Regine Basha.

A Quran wrapped in leather, cloth, and twine. It sits on rocks in shallow water of the Indus River.

Sa’dia Rehman, There isn’t a stone I don’t remember, 2022 (still). Two-channel video. Image courtesy of the artist and their family.

Steep hills with horizontal ridges from erosion. At the tops of the hills is thick green and brown brush. At the bottom is murky water.

Sa’dia Rehman, Khalabat Township Reservoir, 2022. Digital photograph. Image courtesy of the artist.

A rectangular wooden sign with blue text on a white background that reads, “Khanpur Dam Project.” Two columns list the “salient features” below it.

Sa'dia Rehman, Khanpur Dam Sign, 2022. Found object, public sign, wood, paint, stencil. Image courtesy of the artist.

Eye-level shot of a long horizontal strip of blue, black, and white denim fabric sewn together, hanging on a white gallery wall.

Sa’dia Rehman, Hemorrhage, 2022. Artist’s, sister’s, and partner’s jeans. Image courtesy of the artist.

Side-angle shot of a long horizontal strip of blue, black, and white denim fabric sewn together, hanging on a white gallery wall.

Sa’dia Rehman, Hemorrhage, 2022. Artist’s, sister’s, and partner’s jeans. Image courtesy of the artist.

Close-up of a long horizontal strip of blue, black, and white denim fabric sewn together.

Sa’dia Rehman, Hemorrhage (detail), 2022. Artist’s, sister’s, and partner’s jeans. Image courtesy of the artist.

More about the artist

Sa’dia Rehman chevron-down chevron-up

Sa’dia Rehman (they/them) explores how contemporary and historical images communicate, consolidate, and contest ideas about race, empire, and labor. Rehman has exhibited work at venues including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Queens Museum, Kentler International Drawing Space, Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, and Pakistan National Council of the Arts, among others. Rehman received the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson grant and Meredith Morabito and Henrietta Mantooth fellowship and was awarded several residencies. Rehman’s work has been featured in the Brooklyn Rail, New York Times, Harper’s, Hyperallergic, Colorlines, and Art Papers. Learn more on Rehman’s website

Sa’dia Rehman: the river runs slow is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Director of Learning & Public Practice Dionne Custer Edwards in collaboration with Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Kelly Kivland and Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange.  

WINTER/SPRING EXHIBITIONS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Cardinal Health
Karen R. Lane
Nancy and Dave Gill 

EXHIBITION 2022–23 SEASON MADE POSSIBLE BY
Bill and Sheila Lambert
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Carol and David Aronowitz
Crane Family Foundation
Mike and Paige Crane

FREE GALLERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE GALLERIES PROVIDED BY
CoverMyMeds
PNC Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family
National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
CampusParc
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Larry and Donna James
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Jones Day
Alex and Renée Shumate

Close

Next Exhibitions

Sa’dia Rehman: the river runs slow and deep and all the bones of my ancestors / have risen to the surface to knock and click like the sounds of trees in the air