crossed views on a world in tension

crossed views on a world in tension

Until February 12, 2023I’Arab World Institute of Tourcoing hosts the exhibition The Sentinels. All the works presented, from the Cnap collection were produced by artists from the Arab world and its diaspora. The exhibition thus invites you to travel but also – and above all – to reflection on the tragic repetition of history and its conflicts.

Abdessamad El Montassir, Achayef, 2018, FNAC 2021-0017, National Center for Plastic Arts, © Adagp, Paris, 2022, courtesy of the artist

The Arab world: between oppression and attempted revolts

The Arab world faces multiple turbulence and conflict for many years. Despite many attempted revolutions and uprisings, these regions are subject to an uncertain fate and constantly brought back to their “state of siege”. They seem so stuck in front of their historywhich extends and repeats in their present.

Zineb Sedira, The Death of a Journey 5, 2008, FNAC 09-090, National Center for Plastic Arts, on deposit at FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand © Adagp, Paris, 2022, photo credit: Yves Chenot

The artists then become sentinels, witnesses of the surrounding tensions and attempts at revolution. They are both observers and creators – inventing new temporalities and borders – and use their art as a form of emancipation but also of denunciation.

Raed Bawayah, Boy in front of a wall on which a heart is drawn, Childhood Memories series, 2002-2003, FNAC 07-461 © Yves Chenot – National Center for Plastic Arts

Indeed, the artists exhibited combine documentary and fiction in order to highlight the tragic repetition of history. They thus express the major issues facing the Arab countries and in particular the countries of the Maghreb, the Near and the Middle East.

Les Sentinelles: art for self-expression and questioning

Thirty works will be presented at the exhibition The Sentinelseach created by an artist from the Arab world or its diaspora. 21 creators will be put forward, each using a medium and a different artistic genre to express themselves: photography, video, and sometimes an alternation between the two formats.

The works have all been grouped aroundthe same question, that of identity and origins. They therefore all participate in the transmission of a story, whether personal or collectiveand which seems to reflect the tragic fate of the Arab world, faced with a story that repeats itself endlessly.

Yto Barrada, Ferry boat Tangier-Algeciras, Le strait series, notes on a useless country, 2000, FNAC 01-080, National Center for Plastic Arts, on deposit at the Carré d’Art, museum of contemporary art in Nîmes © Courtesy de the artist/ Cnap, photo credit: Yves Chenot

The Sentinels asks the relationship between history and the presentin particular through the questions of revolutions, wars and migratory crises, which cross the history of the Arab world until today.

5 hotbeds of creations for different turbulences

The exhibition The sentinels presents a selection of works from the Cnap, National Center for Plastic Arts, divided into 5 fireplacesnamely: In search of a compass, Urban dailies, Everything against history, Survivals and Transit.

Looking for a compass offers a crossing the Arab world and a (re)discovery of sometimes forgotten territories. We discover a road movie directed by Hassen Ferhani. The artist highlights Malika, owner of an unusual truck stop at the edge of the Trans-Saharanroad of more than 2000 kilometers through the Algerian desert.

143 Desert Street, 2019, PH20-13. Hassen Ferhani / Cnap

The home Urban dailies brings together images that are certainly less exotic, but which interfere in the cities and in the privacy of their inhabitants. All against history illustrates the passage of time, history repeating itself, crises and popular uprisings, taking the opposite of the representation made of it by the media.

The Telephone, 2006, Peripheries series, FNAC 09-050 © Mohamed Bourouissa, Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris Adagp

Survivals brings together sensitive images, questioning identity and wounds, especially among the Palestinian, Algerian and Syrian peoples, victims of their stories. We find there the snapshot captured by Hocine Zaourar, Algerian photoreporter of the AFP during the massacre committed from September 22 to 23, 1997 in the outskirts of Algiers. A cliché taken up on the front page of more than 700 daily newspapers around the world, and was baptized “Madonna” when it is published.

La Madone de Bentalha, 1997. Hocine Zaourar, FNAC 06-517, National Center for Plastic Arts, on loan to FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand

Transit is a look elsewhere, a hope and attempts at goodbye, through the representation of migration and crossing the borders of Algeria, Lebanon and the Strait of Gibraltar. In remember the light couple of lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige question the representation of the fate of migrants in the Mediterranean, focusing on the light at the start of a dive – or a drowning.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Remembering the light, 2015, FNAC 2021-0113, National Center for Plastic Arts, rights reserved/Cnap

These foyers constitute the route of the exhibition The Sentinelsoffering a revealing panorama of the vivacity of these artistsat a time witnesses and actors of this tense world.

All information is on the exhibition page.

Useful information :
The Sentinels – Works from the Cnap collection
Arab World Institute Tourcoing
From September 17, 2022 to February 12, 2023
9 rue Gabriel Peri, 59 200 Tourcoing
Tuesday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Free tour. Full price at €3 and reduced price at €2

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