THOUGHTS ON A VAGUE ROAD
20 MArch – 22 MAy 2021
What would it be like if you had to leave your home, facing severe risks on the way to who-knows-where, reaching a place where you may not know the culture or the language, being away from your home and often without your family and friends?
Here, in the new land, you are told that you are lucky to have the chance to start a new life, but what is the plan for tomorrow?
Not so long ago, you had a vision and your plan for the future, but all that is gone now. The war in your country broke your dream, and you have yet to determine if you will ever return to your homeland. The past is painful, the future is vague and you are standing between the two. In the new place, you have met many new people. You want to share your past, show how beautiful your life was before the war, and convey the true image of your beloved Syria before the war. You want to smile at them, answer each question they have for you, and to show that you are grateful to be here.
In my line of work as a curator, I am used to giving interviews. Since the war started, I have faced many questions about my country. I once realized that every time I explained the situation, I added, ”It’s so complicated to explain.” I find many times that words are insufficient. How can you explain this pain without looking broken or feeling that you are losing your dignity? How does one stay real and not feel bare and emotional? How can you express the sadness and the yearning for what used to be?
Most of the time, when you speak, you feel that you have not rightly expressed your feelings, and you look back, hating the moment that you were unsuccessful at hiding your tears. How can you transform your pain into words? What kind of phrases can you use to explain your loss? How will you avoid looking heartbroken? Can one avoid talking about the war? Sometimes you will be able to and feel relieved, but the next day you will feel guilty that you didn’t defend your dear country and show at least part of the real image, the image that isn’t being portrayed.
Art is a common language that can reach people. It provides a compelling way out of this dilemma in which we cannot communicate these difficult feelings. It allows those who have experienced acute hardship to process their pain gently and offers the glimmer of hope that speaking about their experience might change the world for the better so that others in humanity might never experience that tragedy. Through viewing art, we can tune into the voices of those speaking against the war and draw attention to those who suffer.
Art allows people to bring to light the hard parts of their memories, to convey the losses they have experienced, and to communicate the pain of being away from their homes. I have selected five Syrian artists who left Syria for this exhibition because of the war. Their works connect the viewer to various points and aspects of the artist’s life and experience. They represent themselves and many other people who might find themselves speechless in the face of the war.
Stockholm/ august 2017