Modern and contemporary history holds some of the noisiest tragedies that humanity has lived through, and our present moment is affected by the traumatic memories of these events. Colonialism, political oppression and environmental devastation have led to massive migrations across continents, transforming social ecologies in every centre of the world. Yet the ideologies and systems of governance today continue to create zones of silence that bury many of these histories.
This exhibition reflects on silence – a phenomenon that can trigger the need to scream – through works that provoke a visceral appreciation of postcolonial trauma and the process of psychiatric ‘repair’. Focusing on Attia’s practice over the last two decades, the show deals with topics affecting all humanity while looking specifically at the Middle East and North Africa. In this region the ‘deafening silence’ on cultural, social and historical issues is transforming taboos and limited spaces of expression into challenges to public life and political debate.
On Silence has been conceived for Doha, a multicultural global city of migration, continuously adapting to social and political developments in the region and the world. The exhibition aims to engage the audience in reflections on issues of heritage and aspiration, convention and transgression, colonialism and liberation, the local and the transnational. All these are addressed in Attia’s work, as are debates on ecology, and our material and non-material relationship to the universe. The continuing thread through his art is a focus on how enforced silence can lead to oppression and trauma, and how this silence can be broken during revolutionary moments in response to injustice.
Source and image credit: Qatar Museums
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