The Changing Room: a collective exhibition of Arab artists in Italy

Ahram Online, Sunday 18 Sep 2011

Spazio Qubi Gallery will host exhibition by Arab artists in which they reflect on the changes taking place in the region

Exhibition poster with work by Nermine Hammam, from the Upekkha series (2011), lambda print.

The Changing Room: Arab Reflections on Praxis and Times is a project addressing recent changes in the Middle East that have created new opportunities for contemporary artist from the region.

The exhibition features designs by 15 artists from Egypt and throughout the Arab world. The exhibition will be held at Spazio Qubi in Turin, starting on 23 September.

The exhibition organisers, Finding Projects, describe it as a compilation of artistic reflections about a region that has just witnessed revolutions against autocracy and oppression, social scrutiny and silence.

After witnessing the revolution in Tunisia, Egypt launched a revolution of its own, sparked in part by new digital technology and technologically savvy youth, which became a global emblem of civil freedom. Other countries soon followed and Arabs throughout the region have risen up against autocratic governments.

Larissa Sansour’s A Space Exodus, shows her longing for home as well as the reality of displacement, by becoming the first Palestinian to walk on the moon vis-à-vis a satirical remake of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 Space Odyssey.

Another Palestinian of mixed heritage, Steve Sabella motions us through his Euphoria. A transitory euphoria seeking the subsequence after being displaced, motioned and rebelled from where you once were to where you are now.

Egyptian Khaled Hafez adopts the format of a Video Diary, and creates a narrative by sequencing personal footage and those taken by friends using amateur cyber shot cameras from different parts of Cairo during the 18 days of the Egyptian Revolution. This narrative is enhanced by imagery extracted from YouTube and other internet portals.

Khaled Ramadan, hosts a Skype conversation from Copenhagen with co-curator and friend, Alfredo Cramerotti, in Nottingham, questioning the ownership of history and discussing the notion of being Lebanese in comparison to the ownership of being Italian, Belgian, or Flemish who carry several cultural nations as opposed to being one national state, and vice versa.

Sama Alshaibi discovers Thowra; her own take on the revolution seen through the turmoil brought about the natural existence of being, with the unexplained beginning of thousands of black birds dropping dead from the sky, to an eclipse and regional rebel fire caught across the rest of the Arab region.

These are but a few suggestions to the works presented within The Changing Room, marking an amalgam of installations, prints and videographies, characterizing the MENA region with a frame of socio-political reference: To know one’s history might also suggest the knowledge of what will happen next.

 

Featured Artists

Larissa Sansour (Palestine), Kader Attia (Algeria), Adel Abidin (Iraq), Khaled Hafez (Egypt), Sama Alshaibi (Palestine/Iraq), Steve Sabella (Palestine), Nermine Hammam (Egypt), Ibrahim Saad (Egypt), Khaled Ramadan (Lebanon), Ines Jerray (Tunis), Anas Al-Shaikh (Bahrain), Ahmed El Shaer (Egypt), Marwan Sahmarani (Lebanon), Karim Al Husseini (Palestine) and Bassem Yousri (Egypt).

Featured Essays

Martina Corgnati (Italy), Aladin (UK), Aida Eltorie (Egypt), Sara Rossino (Italy), Amira El Ahl (Egypt), Mariam Hamdy (Egypt), Heba Elkayal (Egypt) and Wafa Gabsi (Tunis)

Curator / Editor: Aida Eltorie; Associate Curator: Sara Rossino

 

Exhibition will open on Friday 23 September in Spazio Qubi in Turin, Italy, with collaboration of Metroquadro Arte Gallery. The exhibition will continue until 22 October.

 

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