Shezad Dawood: Night in the Garden of Love Inspired by and Featuring Yusef Lateef Exhibition at Aga Khan Museum (2023)

Art Exhibitions | Nov 10 - Dec 31, 2023

Aga Khan Museum

Canada > Ontario > Toronto > > M3C 1K1

Shezad Dawood: Night in the Garden of Love Inspired by and Featuring Yusef Lateef makes its Canadian debut at the Aga Khan Museum from November 10, 2023, to May 5, 2024. Produced in partnership with Wiels, the Centre for Contemporary Art in Brussels, the exhibition transports visitors into new and imaginary worlds through a unique, multi-layered experience that taps into the senses.

Inspired by African-American Muslim musician, composer, and polymath (Allāmah) Dr. Yusef Lateef (1920–2013) and his cli-fi novella, Night in the Garden of Love (1988), contemporary artist Shezad Dawood uses gardens as a starting point for creative, futuristic, and intercultural conversations. Audiences will encounter a series of painted textile works by Dawood of real and imagined plants, original artwork by Lateef, and objects from the Museum’s Permanent Collection as they journey through time, navigating a blend of analogue and digital spaces. Nestled amongst Dawood’s textiles are costume sculptures designed by London-based fashion label Ahluwalia, integrating upcycled, repurposed vintage fabrics from Dawood’s textile archive.

Drawn to the creative potential in technology, Dawood collaborated with immersive film and digital arts production company UBIK Productions to create mesmerizing digital experiences. Together, they developed an enthralling two-player virtual reality environment and a series of Digital Seedbanks — seven algorithmically generated plants responding to a new musical score inspired by Lateef’s autophysiopsychic method and performed by several of the late musician’s former collaborators and students.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a scent created by Dawood in collaboration with Olivia Bransbourg of boutique perfume label Iconofly, perfumer Nicolas Bonneville, and fragrance house dsm-firmenich. The distinctive fragrance features eight middle notes. While some are recognizable, such as jasmine, others were crafted using artificial intelligence to represent plants that don’t naturally produce a discernible scent.