Kicking off with a performance on 9 February entitled I want to be a party inspired by social media posts of second-hand items sold by Syrians and Lebanese in Lebanon, Lebanese artist Mounira Al Solh’s practice tackles the ongoing impact of conflict and ensuing crises resonating throughout the broader Middle Eastern region.
Based in The Netherlands, Al Solh has created works she refers to as “time documents” that draw from humanitarian and political crises as well as personal experience and discussions with refugees. This exhibition features a series of conversations starting in 2012 that began as hopeful and gradually declined into dismissive and urgent as the Syrian uprising turned into the Syrian war.
Translating them into collaborative embroideries and 260 drawings on yellow legal paper to reference the bureaucracy facing political refugees, Al Solh explained, “I started inviting people over to my studio, to welcome them in my own medium, drawing their amazing faces that carried so much strength and resilience. After five years of continuing this work, I am more aware of how faces tell a story that is as powerful as each person’s story, their ideas about life, aspirations, and how we can go on, wherever we have ended up."
Curated by Hendrik Folkerts, Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Jordan Carter, assistant curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous aims to be a platform for exposing and continuing conversations on migration, displacement, hope and notions of home. Looking at individual cases as well as communal issues through oral histories, the exhibition also features the recent work Sperveri, a bed-tent installation to commemorate those who have passed, reinforcing the project’s attempt to act as a continuous and unfolding history in a constant state of renegotiation.