18 AEDM : One World, Varying Perspectives

Today, Wordless Wednesday has words!

For my act of creating for this eighteenth day of Art Every Day Month, the boys and I went to see another exhibit! I love how Paris has so many exhibits to offer. And so easily accessible. Just a bus ride or a walk away. Besides being open during the day, Several museums are open till 9 or 10PM one night a week. Children under age four are often free. Many exhibits are out of doors in addition to the typical indoor ones and you even find some that are free. This contact with culture is intoxicating. Addictive. I go to one exhibit and want to see and experience more and more. I can’t go to enough exhibits!

Today we went to see the photography exhibit at Quai Branly. The photos were absolutely amazing. I can’t find the right words to describe them. Mesmerizing, mind blowing, eye-opening, all of those adjectives and then none of those do justice to the images seen. The views, different views of perhaps similar subjects, important issues and daily concerns – war, poverty, discrimination, nature and landscapes, industry, children, love, animals – were stunning, thought provoking, and emotionally awakening.

The exhibit showcased 50 artists from 30 countries. The pictures were reproduced on large canvases. It was a good exhibit to do with Thibault because it was outside (so if he made some noise, though I discouraged it, it wasn’t as bad as being inside a museum). The pictures were big enough and low enough (at his eye level) so that he could look at the pictures too, and since the pictures weren’t the originals, if he touched one, no bells went off (though I discouraged him from touching, he has got to learn somewhere and sometime about art gallery behavior so this was a good place for him to start!) Thibault’s favourite photographer was Morfi Jiménez, from Peru. From his series “Light from within” of modernity and natives of Peru, Thibault especially like the children and the bicycle and boat pictures.

There were three photographers that captured my attention, whose images moved me. The first is Mouna Karray from Tunisia. She’s done a project entitled Au risque de l’identité (Identity at Stake). The series comes from encountering several women from different backgrounds. After photographing them she monopolizes their space, puts on their clothes, and mimics their pose. In doing so, Mouna Karray questions the limits of identity. I like the eeriness of the photographs, the resemblance and the dissemblance, the strange in the familiar, what is familiar becomes foreign, that which is intimate becomes public. With my dual-citizenships and attachment to countries I have resided in, and as a wife, a mother and holder of a masters degree, it is a question I pose everyday. Are we defined by how we look, what we do, or what we are, or where we live, where we were born, or the language we speak, or the accent we have…. or is our identity a blend of these characteristics. I actually am obsessed with this examination. I personally love that I have so many possibilities. Today I can be American, tomorrow Brazilian or Portuguese, today a mother, tomorrow a professional. I can be one or the other, or all of them together. I can be a mother and a professional, I don’t have to choose just one, I can belong to four countries… Am I like everyone else, or am I my own? can someone easily be me, or am I original…

The images of the Second and Third photographers that I liked where emotionally touching besides being aesthetically pleasing. I’ll start with Rima Maroun from Lebanon. Her project, entitled “Murmurs” beautifully depicts such deep suffering. You don’t see any specific signs of violence, invasion or war. These kids are facing the wall, prohibited from seeing, and forbidden to be seen, or are they hiding their faces on purpose? The wall, solid and impenetrable is a symbol of hostility, discrimination and segregation. The colors are grey. But there seems to be hope. The children’s postures have a hint of movement, they are wearing colored clothes. One day, they will turn around, there eyes will be seen, their voices heard, and the wall will disintegrate…

The Third photographer, Gohar Dashti, from Iran, invites her young couple to the feast of war. In this bizarre atmosphere they have an ordinary life – they read, eat, sleep, work, drive and celebrate their wedding and new year’s. Oddly enough, the couple seems right at home in the everyday background of an ongoing eight year war with it’s painful effects and lasting outcomes. But verbal communication seems to be missing between this newlywed couple – are they not allowed to talk or has the suffering led them to be silent?

Looking at these photos, the way some are spontaneous while others staged, I am so inspired by the medium. I feel like I have wasted my visits to the countries to which I have traveled and lived. I have not utilized my potential, and pushed myself. I did not seek the truth offered, I didn’t really see what I looked at – with fear of disturbing and discomfort, lack of language skills… it is so frustrating. Even here in Paris, and I speak the language, I feel like I have nothing new to bring to the photos. I feel like all the photographs of Paris that were meant to be shot, have already been taken. What more is there to show and present to the world that hasn’t already been seen? Anyone can take pictures of a Paris street musician, the façade of a building, or the reflections of lights in the rain. I think it is the difference between the three photographers I mention here and the work of this American photographer living in Paris, Meredith Mullins, for example. Her images of Paris are unimpressive and predictable. The image needs something more, something to capture you and draw you in. I haven’t yet discovered what it is, but I will continue to search for it, to nurture an awareness, to see more closely, observe more profoundly, look more deeply beyond the surface…

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About Alexandra

wife, lover, mother, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, blogger, scrap-booker, cross-stitcher, photographer, designer, multi-lingual speaker, dual-citizenship holder, world traveler, dreamer... hopeful, happy, blessed
This entry was posted in AEDM '09, creativity, day-to-day, exhibits, photography. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 18 AEDM : One World, Varying Perspectives

  1. leah says:

    what a wonderful exhibit. thanks for sharing the images!

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