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March 11 Art Minute: Diana Al-Hadid, The Seventh Month

Global Conversations, Toledo Museum of Art, Exhibition
Diana Al-Hadid (Syrian, born 1981), The Seventh Month, 2015, polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, plaster, gold leaf, pigment, 109 × 85 × 6 in. (276.9 × 215.9 × 15.2 cm), Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio), Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 2017.15 Image Credit: Richard Goodbody Inc., NY

Floating above the surface of the wall, The Seventh Month abstracts a faint image of a pregnant woman with a sword by her side. In creating this work, Al Hadid was inspired by various depictions of women from the Northern Renaissance. The monumental panel drips into the space of the viewer, invoking time, impermanence, presence/absence, construction/destruction, and the relationship between image and object. Although at first glance, it appears that parts of the work were removed to create its gaps, Diana Al-Hadid's approach is in fact additive, the result of methodical layering and controlled drips of polymer gypsum and pigment. The effect, she explains, is that, “Nothing is stable. Everything is moving and dripping and messy.”

Al-Hadid, who was born in Syria and grew up in Ohio, says of the work, “I was taken by the image of a pregnant woman who was also carrying a sword. I myself was in my seventh month of pregnancy…. I find a way to relate to it personally or discover it may have a double meaning.” At the same time, she embraces ambiguity in her works: “I want to slow down the interpretation a little bit.”

This work is currently on view in the Levis Gallery in the exhibition Global Conversations: Art in Dialogue at the Toledo Museum of Art.