September 25 – October 10, 2018
Layers of Identity
AMANI ALTHUWAINI / MAHMOUD SHAKER / AISHA JEMILA DANIELS
“Each one of us has to make his way while choosing between the paths that are urged upon him and those that are forbidden or strewn with obstacles. He is not himself from the outset; nor does he just “grow aware” of what he is; he becomes what he is. He doesn’t merely grow aware of his identity; he acquires it step by step.”
-Amin Maalouf, In the Name of Identity, 2012
We all carry different elements that take part in forming the complexity of our identity. When we speak of identity we tend to oversimplify something that has various components, that emerge at different moments and that are constantly growing and changing. Identity is not limited to gender, religion or race, though they are the most frequent way used in trying to define and categorize people. It’s an entity with a complex network of internal and external factors constantly interacting with each other. In the process of self-discovery, it provides opportunities to unravel and understand how we choose to define ourselves. Identity is the incomparable definition and combination of elements that is specific to every individual. It is impossible for any two people to be alike.
This exhibition connects artists investigating different aspects of identity. To reach any form of understanding it is essential to begin with curiosity in its purist form: a desire to learn and to discover. This is where the artists begin their search, each choosing a focus to uncover and explore. Aisha Jemila Daniels confronts herself, taking an honest look at her emotions, delving deeper to find the true essence of her nature. Mahmoud Shaker tackles the subject of loneliness from an inner and social perspective, breaking a barrier by the mere act of addressing it and offering an insight to its dynamics and possibilities. Amani Althuwaini turns her attention towards culture and rituals, observing their transformations and questioning where we are as a society.
When we free ourselves from preconceived notions of identity, we’re better equipped to see things from different perspectives, understand ourselves and support the development of our society.