Ima Habibi queer arab exhibition 2022 paris
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Project by:
Institut du Monde Arabe
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December 22, 2022
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To highlight a queer orient : Habibi, les révolutions de l'amour

Until February 19th, of the year, coming, the Institut du monde Arabe in Paris is exploring queer contemporary art creation in North Africa and the Middle East through 20 exhibited artists.

The artistic mediums explored are rich, ranging from photography to embroidery, video, and illustration. The whole is separated into two themes the first being «Desire, Intimacy, Sexuality» and the second «Performance of gender». 

The projects are moving and touching and also hold a sense of comedy. A fresh approach to the heavy subjects they tackle on.

Here, A few of our highlights:

First, the work of Raed Ibrahim, a visual artist from Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He offers here an installation taking on the codes of the pharmaceutical world. Showcasing pills of "normality" that fall under his series For Every Ailment There Is a Remedy. And thus, playing with the notion of a cure for all "deviant" sexualities reinforces the associated prohibition and shame.  

Then, the photography of the artist couple Jeanne and Moreau, or Lara Tabet and Randa Mirza who tell their stories of places they took shelter after the disaster of the explosions at the port of Beirut in August 2020. Through pristine images of faded flowers, the aim is to exhibit the sensitivity of the situation as well as show the beauty there still is to be found in life, despite all the horror of it. A moment of unparalleled beauty.

In that part of the exhibition, an 18+ corner can be found, where one can witness the work of Afghan artist Kubra Khademi. Drawings that offer representations of sexuality between women without taboo or shame. In front of them, the colored illustrations of Soufiane Ababri, an artist living between Paris and Tangier. This project questions homoeroticism in plays of power within repressive institutions such as the police. 

The second part of the exhibition is quite cynical as well with, for example, the embroidery work of Sido Lansari, portraying censorship by subtitling Ru Paul's drag race in Arabic, thus simply demonstrating that there is a gap between religious conservatism and globalization. A very interesting and telling approach. 

All in all, the artists featured, give a voice to an often invisibilized discourse of LGBTQIA+ in the Arab world that find themselves in complex intersectionality. Allowing one to see and hear a multitude of personal and collective stories. 

To be queer and oriental is more than challenging in most cases, but the energy this exhibition holds is one of hope and unity. All in all, great work that you have to witness if given the chance.

This exhibition is running until the 19th of February 2023, 
More info on here.

Images Courtesy of the artists and IMA


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