Tradition Interrupted

Tradition Interrupted
October 18 – December 10, 2022

“Tradition Interrupted explores how artists weave contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft to create thought-provoking hybrid images and objects that have caught the world’s attention. The 11 artists in this exhibition—and their traditions—hail from every corner of the globe. From rugs and mosaic to metalwork and ceramics, they are merging age-old art and craft customs with innovative techniques that interrupt tradition while still collaborating with the past.


The artists featured in Tradition Interrupted have lived their lives steeped in the traditions of their ancestors and their connections to cultural customs, imagery, and materials are complex. Some have shared the trepidation they felt when they conceptualized and created their art, but in the process of unraveling tradition, these artists are embracing it and bringing it forward. Ancestral memories and political history—at risk of being forgotten in our fast-paced, digital world—take center stage here. It’s harder to lose sight of something that is staring right at you.”


Faig Ahmed makes contemporary carpets that both embrace and distort the traditional architecture of a rug. The carpet begins on the loom as a perfectly woven object, traditionally structured in palette and pattern. Then the piece radically jumps ship, shape-shifting before our eyes as it melts into an abstract image that literally drips in long stretches onto the floor. Steeped in tradition and presenting a bold new vision, Ahmed’s surreal carpets are a commanding statement about identity, loss, and change.

In her art practice, Anila Quayyum Agha explores perceived cultural and social polarities such as masculine/feminine, public/private, religious/secular to address cultural identity, global politics, and gender roles. Her piece featured in Tradition Interrupted is from a series of metal artworks that imitate delicate embroidery or lacework to reflect these binary ideas. Agha’s Teardrop poetically reflects the plight and suspension of the refugee who is in motion but is restrained by many factors. Her use of light, reflection, and shadow allows viewers to contemplate the basic ‘black and white’ ideas considered by many refugees: pain and peace, strength and struggle, life and death. Adorned with delicate geometric and floral cutouts found in ancient Islamic motifs, the steel form of Agha’s sculpture appears fragile, but its material is resilient, hardy, and even stubborn in nature — very much like humans.

Ramekon O’Arwisters grew up in North Carolina during the 1960s. As a child, he spent a great deal of time with his paternal grandmother making quilts. O’Arwisters, who is gay, admits that the time consuming himself with quilt work tucked away with his grandmother, was an attempt to conceal his identity. “I was a little black boy hiding my queer self from my family,” he says in an artist statement. O’Arwisters says that the broken ceramics in his Mending series represent the human body, which like a jug, is also a vessel. When the human vessel is broken it needs to be mended, not neglected. O’Arwisters’ mended broken ceramic sculptures not only represents healing and the urge to help one another but are seemingly a gentle nod to his grandmother who provided care and comfort during his formative childhood years.

Public Visitors Welcome by Appointment


Please make your online reservation here…

Go to the page titled Public Visitors Welcome by Appointment

Participating Artists: Anila Quayyum Agha (Pakistan), Faig Ahmed (Azerbaijan), Camille Eskell (U.S.), Mounir Fatmi (Morocco), Ana Gómez (Mexico), Shirin Hosseinvand (Iran), Dinh Q. Lê (Vietnam), Steven Young Lee (U.S.), Jaydan Moore (U.S.), Ramekon O’Arwisters (U.S.), and Jason Seife (U.S.).

Tradition Interrupted
was organized by Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.


Image credits from top:

Faig Ahmed, Hal, 2016, handmade woolen carpet, ed. 2/3, 107” H x 64” W x 16” D; Courtesy of the Rodef Family Collection, San Diego, CA
Anila Quayyum Agha, Teardrop (After Robert Irwin), 2016, polished stainless steel with mirror finished, halogen lighting, ed. 2/8, 46” diameter; Courtesy of Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, TX
Ramekon O'Arwisters, Mending #34, 2018, fabric, ceramic shards, 14” H x 11” W x 10” D; Courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Mounir Fatmi, Maximum Sensation, 2016, skateboards, prayer rugs, approximately 90" H  x 192" L x 12" D



Lamont Gallery programs are supported in part by the Michael C. Rockefeller ’56 Visiting Artists Fund.