In 2017, Zehra Doğan was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for “terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.” An artist and journalist, it was Doğan’s painting of the city of Nusaybin in ruins, adorned by Turkish flags, that led to her arrest. Charlotte Bleicher writes about the artist’s prison works, Hidden Drawings, which have been introduced to the public in the last Berlin Biennial.
A one-night event in Berlin this February brought Charlotte Bleicher to ruminate about the relationship between two cities - Beirut and Berlin. She writes about processes of cultural loss taking place in both cities, and about artistic acts of defiance against this disappearance.
Her daughter had painted the view that was hanging outside the window
Of the house that was not her original one.
“If you live in the past, if you can’t escape, then you cannot build a new house, a new future.” Christos Paridis talks with Jonas Mekas about memory, trauma, and the afterlife, about the war years in Lithuania and the 1960’s in New York, and about cinema.
Among many tragic examples, the murder of South Sudanese national, Lost Boy and Canadian citizen Richard Lokeya, and the abduction of journalist Clement Lochio Lomornana (whose whereabouts are still unknown) by state actors, testify to the life-threatening risks implied in refugee justice work in South Sudan today.
A carpet made of concrete, a ripped duvet, and toy soldiers scattered across a single bed. East of Elsewhere's “While You Were Sleeping” housed a collection of domestic furnishings distorted and deconstructed to reflect the consequences of conflict seeping into everyday life.
Hadeel Abu Johar travels roads and lanes of near memory, hinting at what is beyond, asking questions about the tension between the image and the event and about the human search for a place and its meaning.
With a rich display of over 200 artifacts, the Metropolitan Museum exhibition “Jerusalem, 1000-1400,” subtitled “Every People Under Heaven,” intended to introduce the viewers to a peaceful, spiritual, culturally and religiously diverse place, which they imagine the city of Jerusalem to be. Rula Khoury visited the exhibition and came back with some thought-provoking questions.
The third and final part of the essay by Noah Simblist focuses on Akram Zaatari’s use of dialogical exchange as an artistic strategy. While completely different in their dynamics and outcomes, Zaatari’s conversations with both Hagai Tamir and Avi Mograbi, he argues, reveal different degrees of both personal and political engagement and, at the same time, various forms of antagonism and refusal.
In the second part of his essay analysing Akram Zaatari’s 2013 work “Letter to a Refusing Pilot,” Noah Simblist addresses a previous work by the artist that involved a conversation with filmmaker Avi Mograbi. Simblist is reading this work through the prism of dialogical exchange, referencing Grant Kester’s definition of “dialogical art,” as well as Ella Shohat’s observations on the identity politics of Mizrachi or Arab Jews.