Void Gallery presents our upcoming exhibition, Above Us the Milky Way, which features work from artists Orna Kazimi, Kubra Khademi, Mario García Torres and Erkan Özgen. The title of the exhibition is taken from a novel by Fowzin Karimi that explores the complexities and the impact of war through memories, loss and notions of home. Many who are forced into exile face forced migration, and the burden of carrying the past into the present and future. The legacy of war, the repression of minorities and women, and the trauma that seeps through the generations forms the focal point of this exhibition.
The effect of war on women is prevalent in parts of the Middle East especially in the past year, most significant is the transformation of Afghan society in terms of girls’ access to education and women losing basic human rights and limits to their freedom. Women and girls suffer disproportionately during and after war, as existing inequalities are magnified and social networks break down, making them more vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation.
Displacement due to war and conflict has significant implications on people’s sense of place and culture. This dislocation is passed through generations. Postwar, returning generations reach a location that only exists in their imaginations and through the stories of their parents or ancestors what remains is often just a memory and a decimated landscape. This question of how do we change this trajectory, imagining a new way forward that attunes to a more equitable way of being and breaking the repetition of the cycle of history is something that we need to address and is as urgent now as it has been throughout the history of war and conflict.
Erkan Özgen (Derik, Turkey, 1971) lives and works in Diyarbakır. He graduated from Çukurova University Painting Department in 2000. He works on video based installations and has participated in group exhibitions in Turkey and abroad. Most of his recent films deal with migration and human rights. The film Purple Muslin premiered at Manifesta 12 (Palermo, Italy, 2018), winning unanimous public acclaim.
Orna Kazimi is a visual artist based in London. Orna’s work and research explore personal encounters with migration in relation to collective trauma and memories of displacement through drawings, installation and writing. Her work has received recognitions and nominations for a wide range of prizes and grants such as Ingram Art Prize in 2021 (shortlisted) and the Writers Grant funded by Creative Debuts in 2020. Her works have been shown at Unit1 Gallery and Workshop, London; Lethaby Gallery, London; Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; Centre de la Gravure, La Louviere; TCNJ Art Gallery, New Jersey; Imago Mundi, Milan; Theca Gallery, Milan; Queen’s Palace, Kabul. She was awarded the Caspian Arts Foundation Scholarship (2016) and completed a master’s degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (2018).
Kubra Khademi (born 1989) is an Afghan performance artist based in Paris. She studied fine arts at Kabul University. In Lahore she began to create public performances, a practice she continued upon her return to Kabul, where her work actively responded to a society dominated by extreme patriarchal politics. After performing her piece Armor in 2015, Khademi was forced to flee Afghanistan due to a fatwa and death threats. She is currently living and working in Paris. Mario García Torres (born 1975 in Monclova, México) is one of the most internationally renowned Latin American artists. He has used various media, including film, sound, performance, ‘museographic installations’ and video as a means to create his art. Garcia Torres often mentioned untold or ‘minor’ histories, as departing points for his work. He has re-created historical exhibitions and has even ‘completed’ unfinished artworks, often blurring original and reenactment, past and present, while questioning universal ideas about truth, certainty and time –all core ideas in the development of his body of work. During the early 2000s García Torres stopped dating his works; In so doing, he undermines the narrative of an oeuvre and career as a progressive evolution over time. n.d. (no date) often accompanies, since then, the work’s title, and has become a signature of the artist. His work has been shown at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Hammer Museum in Los Ángeles, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam among many others. He has participated in international biennials like the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paolo Biennial and the Documenta in Kassel.
Dates: 25/06/2022 – 27/08/2022
Void Gallery, 10 Waterloo Place, Derry-Londonderry