In another country and in present tense…
Oppressive governance with an anti-freedom agenda has invented fictional enemies to cover up its failures. These enemies are located outside the country borders and are intangible to the extent that digital technologies cannot reach them. The enemies are entirely outside our knowledge domain. The fear is so high that all controversies and discrepancies are eliminated and everyone goes back to their safe sphere. Another obvious result is the elimination of all possible opposition. People voluntarily delete their memories to be able to endure this situation. People who lose their pasts, childhood and incongruous longing included, begin a new life disconnected from this current world. Consequently they drag themselves into a new search once they realize they are not able to endure the violence of forgetting and of loss. They are forced to rediscover their existence through finding a shelter underground. The only emotion they can recognize is solitude and the only other tool they have at their disposal, the limited number of art history books.
As relayed by an inhabitant:
We never felt as lonely as this; we never knew another world that’s different than ours. All our foreign relations were broken and therefore, we forgot our universal values. It was impossible to understand what was happening. Our faces disappeared from the mirrors in a world where no others existed. The past and the future fell into the well of forgetting. We did not know how to prove our existence in a reality where the memory and the other were terminated. In order to remember, we had to find images, symbols and an allegory and an expression that would make a community out of us. The most appropriate way to do so was to utilize the opportunities offered to us by the art of painting and find new nouns and visuals for redefining objects and our behaviors. We had to first and foremost think how and through what we would define ourselves. Painters and poets took on this work and began to craft a recalibration of the visual and the verbal. This craft of the visual- verbal would become the guidebook for understanding what was going on in the country. The following situations had to be defined immediately: Justice, laughter, cloud, headscarf, family, woman, drum, soldier, nurse, death, sculpture, separation, jealousy, hearing, mosque, Atatürk Cultural Center, Persian vase, love, cypress tree, and so on. Joseph Beuys was one from the world of art and literature from whom we asked for help, and it seemed wise to benefit from his healing and creative powers.
Hand Drawn, Action Packed, Hayward Gallery / Southbank Centre touring exhibition, London, 2018
Tamawuj, 13th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, 2017
Beneath the Horizon, Galeri Nev Istanbul, Istanbul, 2017
Installation view from Tamawuj, 13th Sharjah Biennial, Calligraphy Centre, curator Christine Tohme, Sharjah, 2017