4 min 3 s, colour, sound
Courtesy of the artist
Adel Abidin, an artist of Iraqi origin who currently lives and works in Helsinki, belongs to a generation of artists on the Arab cultural scene who have fled repression and war. Most of them live and work in European cities and their awareness is shaped by the counterpoint –though also by the critical distance – between the cultural and emotional traits of their country of origin and their new home. Jihad plays with an archetype we have seen a thousand times on television: a suspected Islamic terrorist armed to the teeth is filmed in a long take before the crescent moon flag announcing that he is going to sacrifice himself in the name of his faith. Abidin subverts our expectations and, in keeping with the archetype, he replaces the Kalashnikov with an acoustic guitar and the Islamic flag with the unmistakable stars and stripes. He starts reciting a verse from the Quran, but immediately sings This Land Is Your Land, by the American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (1945). To the visual shock of seeing the terrorist with a guitar is added the threat implicit in his saying ‘This land is my land’ standing in front of the American flag.
I remembered a game as I was waiting in the passenger lounge for the ferry to arrive just a few minutes ago. A game we used to play at home when I was young, in my country that is very far away from here, a relic from the distant past; I don’t even remember how we used to play it. The kind of game that makes me feel a thousand times lonelier than I already am among the crowd waiting to get on the ferry.
Pera Museum, in collaboration with Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is one of the main venues for this year’s 15th Istanbul Biennial from 16 September to 12 November 2017. Through the biennial, we will be sharing detailed information about the artists and the artworks.
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 19:00
Friday 10:00 - 22:00
Sunday 12:00 - 18:00
The museum is closed on Mondays.
On Wednesdays, the students can
visit the museum free of admission.
Full ticket: 100 TL
Discounted: 50 TL
Groups: 80 TL (minimum 10 people)
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