October 11, 2016

Osman Khan at Public Pool @ Hyperallergic

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. — Like many an immigrant’s tale, Osman Khan’s ambitious installation work, On Which Side, The Barbarians?, begins with a journey. The myriad media pieces traveled from the artist’s studio to the gallery in a converted box truck, a 2011 project of Khan’s titled “Going my way,” where the blank white truck was adorned with a colorful overlay of florid Pakistani patterns and designs.

“The truck embodies an idea of the hybrid,” Khan said during an interview at Public Pool art space, where his work is on view. The truck represents Khan’s move from his native homeland of Pakistan, which he left at the age of two, and attempts to overlay that experience with his life in the United States, where he has long been a naturalized citizen. Khan’s emphasis on a kind of cultural overlay, rather than melding, is very intentional, highlighting the sense of separated spaces coexisting — an idea echoed in the literal division of the gallery space into two sides, separated by a folding screen “wall.”

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