Kevork Mourad

b. 1970 in Qamishli, Syria
Working in New York, NY, United States of America
Showing at Asia Society Museum
On view October 27, 2020, through February 7, 2021
Seeing through Babel

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre, in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), London, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Anne Purkiss

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre, in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), London, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Anne Purkiss

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre, in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), London, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Anne Purkiss

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre

Installation view of “Kevork Mourad: Seeing Through Babel” at The Ismaili Centre, in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), London, 2019. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Anne Purkiss

Kevork Mourad’s practice engages drawing and print-based techniques rooted in the artist’s training as a printmaker to create dynamic sculptures, installations, and cross-disciplinary collaborative performances with choreographers, composers, and writers, among others. His intricate architectonic tableaux recall ancient civilizations and are often visual manifestations of oral history traditions and the artist’s childhood memories of Syria and Armenia. His projects tackle timely issues relating to sociopolitical histories, the plight of political refugees, and religious tolerance, specifically in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths. The artist received an MFA from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and Theatre in 1996 and is the only visual artist member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble. 


Seeing Through Babel takes inspiration from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel to create an allegory of how aversions to cultural differences may result in conflict. The immense tower, constructed from six concentric circles suspended from the ceiling, is animated with Mourad’s trademark architectonic monotypes and drawings. These textual inscriptions and images fill the supple fabric walls and seemingly come alive when the surface becomes subtly activated by the movements of a passerby. Mourad’s interpretation of the Tower of Babel is meant to inspire recognition of the commonalities that unite humanity, while cultural and religious differences render us unique contributors to a diverse and cosmopolitan world. 


Made possible through the Asia Society Museum-Aga Khan Museum Collaboration Program

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