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Farah Salem and Antonio Da Silva

Performance Photography, Digital Experimentation, Book


In this book, the artists are revisiting a series of images created a few years ago. The images are a result of an invitation by Antonio for Farah to perform in his photographs wearing the ‘abaya. Her role was passive, a performance upon request through the ‘abaya. In this piece, Farah’s role transforms into an active role, as a collaborating artist whose voice is presented through images taking the form of the ‘abaya.

The ‘abaya, is a traditional cloak that is worn by women in parts of the Muslim world. It has suffered many stereotypes and political stigma. In this artwork, we address a common stereotype that this garment is a symbol of submission, and lack of self-expression. Our aim is not to present a political statement, yet to reflect on the matter through art making. Similar to a musical call and response process, Antonio would send imagery from his ‘abaya series, and Farah would respond with an image that expresses what her movements could represent underneath the garment. The response images hold emotions and expressions beyond the curious void that the black garment leaves those on the outside of it with. Revealing a freedom in doing what is needed despite socio-cultural expectation associated with the garment.

About the Project:

 This art book is part of an art project organized by the art collective WYL / What's your location? - which can be read as from what point of view one perceives the world?. This collaborative international art project aims to combine artistic expressions by exploring topics related to globalization and how it effects local communication and culture. With artists mostly from Brazil, Kuwait and England, each art book seeks to foster dialogues in the form of image and / or text, revealing the strategies jointly developed by each pair or trio of  artists. The final publications are printed in Portuguese and Arabic.

In honor of the 64th Porto Alegre Book Fair, the international collective WYL? What is your location? A set of images was made specially for a CRUZANDO HORIZONS exhibition, 2018, held at Centro Cultural CEEE Erico Veríssimo, from October 23 to November 24.

The project promoted the choice between pairs and trios of artists, based in Brazil, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. Thus, the books are the result of a long collaborative process, of digital messages and texts, in Arabic, Portuguese and English, according to the origin of each work.

The diversity of languages for the public, with emphasis on the publications in Arabic and Portuguese, prestige a native language of each artist and a brand in the dissemination of an approach to their projects, narrowing the relations of production and artistic reflection between people and the institutions, care, care, social contexts, leaders and geographers who work in the works.

Faced with this rich background, design and the slide are designed to bring artists closer to different cultures, are the requirements imposed by the native language of each author and questionnaires if the art is purely visual and capable of transcending as barriers linguistic expressions and to promote a reception of the meaning of the artistic object.

More broadly, artists were able to investigate the methods used to develop a productive process, assessing the impact of Western culture on the language of visual language, where a rupture of meaning predominated to become the most interesting method of research.

The collective WYL? The CEEE Erico Verissimo appreciate the books, affectionately made through a practice in respectful collaboration for the collection of different voices, the causes of the different parts of the world.