07 April 2017 -
21 May 2017
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
181-187 Hay St, Haymarket
6–8pm Thursday 6 April 2017
Exhibition opened by Brendan O’Flynn, Human Rights Watch. Opening performance from Chun Yin Rainbow Chan from 7–7:30pm
The reconciliation between memory and reality plagues the act of returning. There is no resolution between the two. Memories are etched into the psyche hinged on topographical monuments, whispered words and subconscious everyday patterns while reality erases such symbology through the passing of time. Familiar Stranger examines this third, non-existent space that plagues the returnee as they seek to retrace their memories in places that have been rebuilt or reinscribed. With familiarity reduced to invisible archaeological sites the returnee searches for recognition and legitimacy in a now unacquainted geography.
The exhibiting artists examine the negation and erasure of familiarity by presenting place as a space defined by uncertainty. There is a continue shift between points of view that begets the collapse of spatial certainty and becomes defined by its own instability. For the migrant the idea of returning becomes an implicit part of their identity; the constant oscillation between the possibility and impossibility of return a daily taunt. In Familiar Stranger the moment of return is the focal point where, for some, it is a wistful hope and for others a violent decimation of expectancy. Resisting melodrama, the artists turn to the familial archive and the personal memorial to bring form to the constant internal struggle between what is and what was.
Top image: Shumon Ahmed, What I have forgotten could fill an ocean, what is not real never lived, 2013, polaroid photos, analogue telephone set, original soundtrack originally composed by Yusuf Khan and recited by Nader Salam. Courtesy the artist and Samdani Art Foundation & Project88, Mumbai, India.