SOME MOMENTS DURING THE INSTALLATION OF MY ARTWORK IN CHICAGO
I just installed four solo exhibitions at the historical Dole Mansion near Chicago. Two installations were historical, one was a photography exhibition and one was a visual and audio exhibit.
Before installing any art a few minutes of solitude in the mansion allowed me to get a sense of the building. The creaking floors had a vague presence of previous lifes. The hall’s darkest corners were intruded by shafts of morning light from open doors. Once upon a time here lived a Dole family.
Installing one’s art is rewarding. It is the last phase of the idea-creation-installation process. Installation is the stage where the performance of the artwork takes place. And as the creator you leave the stage wishing for as many eyes as possible together with some admiration and respect. And perhaps even some contemplating.
When night arrived I spent some time in Mrs Dole’s room and watched the dancing of my transparent spheres and their shadows. They represent unheard words. The audio of words played in an echoing manner accompanying the dance. Pride, remorse, a hope for change and wish to be heard was revealed in their voices. The words was responses to questions of how they define themselves and if there is anything different they would have wanted to be. A mother with two girls came. I told them about my inspiration. The thought of words flying up in the skies and ceilings forever if no one listens to them. the little one asked: ” can they talk?”
I collaborated with photojournalist Brian Rutter for my “Floating Children” exhibition. He took photographs of Syrian children and I printed them on light transparent fabric to suggest their fragility and the lightness of their innocence and gave them wind so they can float. My inspiration was a Japanese woodblock print by Kiyohiro of a woman whose letters and handkerchief are carried away by a sudden wind. These children can also be carried away and disappear. I am hoping that this installation will remind us that there is always something more we can do to make this world a better place especially for children.
I installed the ethereal shoes in Mr Dole’s room in a way that the shoes seem to be walking towards a floor to ceiling window. A walk from past to present in my imagination. The ones who can get close rise up in the air. When I told a little girl who came in the evening that the shoes are trying to escape she laughed and said: “that’s funny, they have been here all this time and now they want to escape'”
The dresses of my “Clothes from the Past” exhibit looked at home in the daughter’s room. They seemed too eager for me to leave as if they were getting ready to share their 400 year old tales with the mansion. These were garments I created to bring back a small section of my own history. After all the costumes portray the status of the people, their traditions and sophistication of a culture. I designed them with imaginary elements based on miniature paintings and literary sources and an extensive study of the textiles of the time.