Following the 2023 theme exploring archives, five selected artists took up residency at The Lab under the mentorship of artist Raed Ibrahim, where they delved into personal and nonpersonal family archives in an attempt to develop visual narratives of lost and undiscovered memories, memoirs, and testimonies.
This exhibition, curated by Raed Ibrahim, presents works by the artists, which include various projects. Amany Adel shares a reflection on the visual history of weddings from the beginning of 20th century Egypt, while Arzaq Abu Eid attempts to create an inclusive narrative for the Palestinians who left Kuwait as a result of the Iraqi invasion, based on her research and collected testimonies of family relatives. Zina Ghoul retraces the steps of her late grandfather, a photography enthusiast, upon his return to Amman, in an effort to find and assemble the missing pieces leading to his passing. Aya Abu Ghazaleh redocuments her family's temporary stops between refugee camps and houses. Meanwhile, Maria Khorzom sonically investigates the act of asking questions within the family by building an online sound archive that launched at the exhibition opening.
The participating works play on the duality of the personal and the collective, private and public, hidden and declared, temporary and permanent, present and absent, told and untold. They also explore, each in its own way, narratives that transcend family boundaries and the shared story in a process of re-reading personal histories in the contexts of exhibition and public spaces.
Amany Adel, (b. 1992) is an Egyptian documentary filmmaker, photographer, and sound producer. She graduated from both the Cairo Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Jesuit Film School in Alexandria. Amani's passion lies in archives and oral history, which she believes are vital sources for documenting heritage and culture. Amani’s work is based on connecting emotional aspects and people through the marginalized tales she documents. Her main projects revolve around the themes of memory, identity, archive, and place, and how they are all influenced by historical and political factors.
Her current projects involve exploring the connection between text and image through various forms of media, including still and moving images. She usually tries sewing techniques in search of alternative narratives.
Arzaq Abu Eid is a researcher and archivist based in Amman. She holds a degree in philosophy and social anthropology and has a keen interest in the humanities, social sciences, and the paths of oral narratives in our societies - where orality is the only basis for documenting memory. When conducting historical research, Arzaq argues that it is imperative to take into account oral tales, as well as people's observations and lived experiences.
She worked on various projects researching cultural heritage, oral history, and archiving, including the documentation of oral history in Jordan, working alongside the German Cultural Institute (Goethe), the French Institute for Near Eastern Studies (IFPO), and the French Cultural Institute, in cooperation with several national institutions.
The project has undergone three phases. In the first phase, which occurred in 2018, local oral narratives about the period of World War I in Jordan were documented. In the second phase, which occurred in 2019, the project researched the memory of places and specifically focused on documenting the memory of the Raouche café in Zarqa. This phase resulted in an audio exhibition held at the Darat al Funun - Khalid Shoman Foundation. Finally, the third phase of the project, in 2020, examined “Tales of Amman”, a series of stories that narrate the oral history of Al-Muhajireen, one of Amman's oldest neighborhoods. Arzaq is now an archivist at Palestine Memory Project, a digital archive documenting Palestinian history.
Aya Abu Ghazaleh, (b. 1991) in Amman, is a visual artist and art therapist. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts and a professional Diploma in Art Therapy from the University of Jordan. Her work is concerned with the intersections of the plant world with memories, as well as family archives, sustainability, and the use of digital tools. Aya believes art making is an effective tool in resistance and healing.
She has received several residencies and grants, and has exhibited her works in several countries. She has also worked as an art teacher and art therapist for several programs, such as YAYA 2014 with the Qattan Foundation and the Qalandia International Biennial, Digital Transmissions program with the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, the British Council, and Future Everything, the Disarming Design from Palestine Project, the Palestine Museum US. Aya also received the Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa Award for Youth Creativity (2015/2016).
Zina Ghoul is based in Amman and has a keen interest in the social history of Jordan and Palestine. She is particularly drawn to narratives that highlight the relationship between the personal and the public. Since 2019, she has been planning and managing in-depth journalism programs at 7iber magazine. She believes in curiosity and experimentation, which has inspired her to practice art through a variety of mediums, such as embroidery, photography, and installation.
Maria Khorzom (b. 1999) is a Syrian-Palestinian multidisciplinary artist and researcher whose practice involves sound collage, audio-visual installations, and sound sculptures. She is interested in the sonic deconstruction of memory, the intersection of art and documentation, and the matrilineal inheritance of objects amongst SWANA women. Her current project, Phenomenology of a Question analyses the inflection patterns of questions delivered within the family as portals into the modes, dynamics, and characters we revert to in those relationships.
Raed Ibrahim is a visual artist and art educator based in Amman, Jordan. He was born in 1971 in Saudi Arabia. He studied Drawing and Painting at the Lebanese University in Beirut, then obtained an MFA in Art for Public Spaces from EDHEA - Ecole de Design et haute école d'art, in Sierre, Switzerland. He participated in Darat al Funun's Summer Academy in 2000, 2001, and 2003, and in the artist-in-residence exchange program between Darat al Funun and ProHelvetia, in Aarau, Switzerland in 2009. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions and as part of a number of group shows, in Jordan and other countries. Raed exhibited several times at Darat al Funun, including A Camel in the Room in 2020. He currently teaches Fine Arts at the University of Jordan.