Beyond the Cloth brings together artists' work both inspired by, and using the Kafiye, articulating a meta-narrative about the complexities of Arab culture and identity. The project brings together an array of work ranging from portraiture, installation art, video art, street art stickers, to minimal representations that dissect and re-articulate graphically the patterns of the Kafiye itself. Encompassing the potent, the bold, the intricate, and the minimal, these works reflect the clashes and compatibilities of identity and politics within and beyond the Arab world. Some utilize this garment in works that explore the boundaries of transgression, particularly in the context of female identity in the Arab world, and commercial identity in Arab-West relations. Others, through their use of abstracted imagery seem to echo the weaving together and unraveling of boundaries, fences, and barriers, both literal and metaphorical. Both directly and indirectly, all seem embedded in political articulations of the region, and the multifarious identities within it.
Picking up this theme, Unveiled reflects the Arab world as an explosive melting pot of identities in the face of political strife. With Syria on the brink of war in the heated midst of a weapons crisis, Egypt grappling with its post-revolutionary identity and politics, and Lebanon reflecting on the legacy of its civil war, the performances explore the complexities of life and identity in this region. Hadi Eldebeck, Plus Aziz, Kevork Mourad, and Chris Carr articulate, through music and drawing, traditional and transgressive music both within and between Arab and African American culture. Ferran Martin and Rosalinda Gonzales take up the combative themes of destruction, protest, ritual, and religion in this region, inspired by Western Mediterranean rituals and female protestors in Egypt. Parsha Radetzki gestures at progress, and human rights, with particular emphasis on Syria, and true to the plethora of approaches to the Kafiye as symbol in Beyond the Cloth, Igor Molochevski and Ella Averbukh explore musically, the graphic representation of the Kafiye. Finally, Anthony Haden-Guest punctuates these performances with readings that explore the complexity of these themes in the context of Lebanon's Civil War.
Whitebox Art Center welcomes you to join a timely conversation on artistic expressions that reflect on a turbulent, multifarious, intricately complex region.