Behind the Scenes With Artist Magnus Sigurdarson, Sole Member of "Occupy Opa-locka"

Categories: Art
Magnus Sigurdarson
where Ali Baba meets Obama
Magnus Sigurdarson stands on the corner of Ali Baba and Barack Obama Avenues in Opa-locka while holding a cardboard sign that reads, "Occupy My Innocence."

"The 'Other' is in the White House," cracks the Icelandic artist, who has appropriated the Moorish-themed municipality as the conceptual stomping grounds for his show opening at 6 p.m., Friday, February 10 at the Dorsch Gallery in Wynwood.

Sigurdarson plans to exhibit photos and a video piece documenting what he calls his "protest" in front of Opa-locka City Hall. There will also be a rotating camel and computer drawings of scenes inspired by French colonial-era postcards depicting life in a Saharan oasis, nomadic encampments, and camel caravans departing for trade on the Silk Road.

In some of his images, the artist appears at various locales throughout Opa-locka, such as city hall and a train station, holding signs that say, "Occupy My Dreams," "What's in It for Me?" and "Fundamentally Right."

Magnus Sigurdarson
Living in an occupation nation
Sigurdarson, who stormed Opa-locka as an occupying army of one, was the solitary voice in the wilderness because other protesters "didn't get the memo," he jokes. "Hey, I'm not making fun of anyone other than myself," he adds seriously. "I'm turning my sights inward, not out."

His exhibit titled "1001 Dreams of Occupation: What's in It for Me?" conflates issues of postcolonialism and the transient nature of exoticism in a globalized world. The exhibit draws on the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring, and his own sense of feeling like a nomad since arriving in Miami seven years ago.

Sigurdarson, whose MFA thesis at Rutgers University dealt with the origin of the "Native," typically explores issues of identity in his multilayered, performance-based work. In the past, he's had himself photographed as a sobbing Goth Viking washed up on South Beach and as an English beefeater amid London's befuddled rush-hour crowds.

For Sigurdarson, our city's schizzy cultural DNA provided a fertile backdrop. New Times recently joined Sigurdarson for a tour of some local landmarks he says were part of the inspiration for his current body of work.

Location Info


Emerson Dorsch

151 NW 24th St., Miami, FL

Category: General

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault