PHOTOGRAPHS MIHRAB MIHRAB / APSE TURBAN

Exhibition "GRAEAE"

exhibition setting in Cultural Centre of Belgrade Art Gallery | Belgrade, 2016

I can claim that we are living in a historically important period for our civilisation and it is very difficult to debate and not to debate about it, but I shall begin with a moment of silence to honour all the victims.

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Changes in today’s geopolitics and the ongoing refugee crisis, for me personally, have triggered my childhood memories and a sense of helplessness, the same one I felt during the wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, the prototype of world conflicts; the feeling I can resist only by working in an attempt to understand political situation in the world today, which deeply affects our entire existence in general,not just our individual lives, our everyday life – for it is degrading the life itself, gradually abolishing it and everything that is humane.

حتى نحصل على السلام لابد ان نكذب "We need a lie in order to preserve peace”. The universal nature of this thought enables us to use it in different contexts. Here, it has been applied in order to illustrate that impulse to single out a group of people, who are found responsible for the critical situation in society. Today, that group are Muslims. They all have been perceived as terrorists, barbarians, in the purpose of intentional war, due to capitals movemenet stagnation, emphasised with the thesis that the natural resources must not be nationalized. The Muslim community takes ‘redemption’ of our ‘sins’ (needs) that is why I made turban of thorns, evoking Jesus’ crown of thorns and his martyrdom; for the same reason they are in motion.

MIHRAB /niche |* architecturaly adapted, transformed niche in the gallery // Direction of the niche in the gallery coincides with the direction of kiblah - direction that Muslim face during the pray; so the niche becomes the mihrab (an extension inside mosque that shows Kiblah). This concurrence is the motiv for reshaping the niche by installing a partition wall and intervention within that space with spilled corn (kneeling on the corn facing at the corner is the way of punishment in Serbian tradition).

Migrations usually cause an overall introspection of a society and its established order; it is contrary to social lethargy, to a society based on mythologisation of an individual. To initiate all forms of introspection is painful for everyone. We are being deprived enough of our rights in the capitalist, market-oriented society, but we should not keep on preserving our civilisation upon the living dead. Therefore, the very act of removing the finger pads (practice of refugees to burn theirs finger pads or to cut them off with razor blades, in purpose of making identification impossible), as a way of cutting off one’s unwanted part, is not an act of “desperate individual” (not an act of producing the dead); it is rather an initiation for “resurrection” of the society. That is why I placed “Sculpture for removing the finger pads” in the apse or mihrab.

Sculpture for removing finger pads is placed in the apse or mihrab, with a tent as a vault // tent is now the only infrastructure used by refugees. Sage is a symbol of healing and salvation (according to the legend, Mary, while escaping to the Egypt with Joseph and Jesus, hid Jesus in sage, saving him from the solders).

Series of documentary photographs of a chair, with the elements of the American flag, was taken in the park opposite the central train station in Belgrade, which is temporary residence of refugees on the Balkan route. This camping chair was obtained from the UNMIK soldiers and brought from Kosovo by a Serbian refugee, creates a direct connection between the events within these two spaces, forming the subject that event had been ascribed to. Once the equation sign was put between the man and the state, the history of so called liberalism began, signifying the confluence of the state based on legal justice with the state based on the market interests.

First photo form the gallery depicts little boy named David, posing in a chare with the elements with American flag, on his mothers Susan request, explained by the sympathy towards the US and US Army. They had fled from Iraq. Refugee with the hat and holes instead of eyes at the moments seems like terrorist… The question is how much are they free to express their political views or any other – from clothing to cultural expression, and it reveals the absolute demand for the rights to life.