Looking-Looking away, 2018

Wool yarn, cotton thread, cotton fabric. Hand embroidery on cotton fabric, Dimensions variable

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This artwork was first installed in First Site Gallery, Melbourne. For that, I used yarns of different colours to create a new set of abstract patterns in front of the realistic patterns of people in suffer. My intention was to emphasise the ironic contrast between “the pain of others” and how we perceive it.

In understanding the socio-political situation of the Middle-East today, the majority of people only rely on the information they receive from the media. The type of information that is far from the reality and is often manipulated and skewed. This theatrical exposition of wars in the Middle-East, cannot offer a fare and realistic demonstration of what is happening in the region. I see this similar to those colourful abstract patterns that come from another set of patterns but can serve for camouflage and distract the viewers from seeing the pain in the original patterns.

 

I also found this idea of creating an abstract spectacle in front of realistic imagery of people in pain aligned with what Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) considers reducing “the other to an abstraction”. In his speech, The Perils of Indifference, Nobel-Prize winning Elie Wiesel, explained indifference as something seductive that makes people think of others’ lives as meaningless.

 

When I was planning for installing my artworks for my exhibition at Victoria University, I had to manage the gallery space, so I have enough space for installing a few large artworks. With this challenge, I came up with a new idea for installing this artwork and two more similar ones.

I used moveable walls as a platform for installing my artwork and decided to create new abstract patterns by extending the threads across the wall and not towards the viewer. Despite the similarities in form and content in both versions ─installed in First Site Gallery and Victoria University─, two artworks could suggest different meanings and interpretations.