Mediterranean Fire LLC is directed to the historical wellsprings of gifted Artists and Performers of the Eastern Mediterranean, who bring virtuosity and energy to a visionary sphere that promotes fusions between Arab and Mediterranean cultures and interdisciplinary art forms. These powerful forms of expressions are showcased in our art collectives’ projects which include group and solo exhibitions and through vocal and theatrical performances.
10% of proceeds from the sales of artworks go towards working with abandoned youths, refugee children, youth whom experience traumas, or young people who can not afford special programs for learning and development, through the arts.
These art pieces were executed in a narrative style, to tell stories where the viewer can trace experiences of wandering and chaos through the canvases. Some works are rendered in a vibrantly celebratory pallet, almost jubilant, while others use imagery of violence (such as in Wael Darweish’s Burning Bodies, as well as Klaudja Sulaj’s Feminist Portrayal of a Woman Taking Her Life) to evoke the emotional and physical vulnerability of certain Mediterranean themes...such as being without asylum.
Several artists in the exhibition interpret events of uproar, uprising, and revolution. Hani Alqam’s Arab Spring and Abbas Yousif’s The Soul of Light both use Arabic characters layered discordantly, to portray feelings of pandemonium. Ahmed Nagy’s series Daily Images of Chaotic Events are based on pictures Nagy took in the street during the Egyptian revolution. In this way, the creators of these works seize the power to show what is happening in their worlds, to communicate it to others, and to re-present their own narratives.
The figures in these canvases are often nomadic, wandering, depicting the uncertainty that accompanies displacement. In Basel Uraiqat’s Refuge series, families and solitary figures walk in and out of abstracted, hazy panels in an ambiguous setting.
Still other artists embrace absurdity to capture the hazards of war. Sinan Hussein's work, dynamic and surreal, present figures in unlike and farcical situations, making use of heavy imagery to depict the perplexity of conflict. Thameur mejri's series, I Will Bury my Love Around You, drawn in an almost childlike manner, shows cartoon characters and limbs flung across the page.
These works were created in response to poetic texts written by Habibah Sheikh, a nomadic performance artist originally from Lebanon, and the curator of this exhibition. In the text, a character named Ruba experiences the destruction of war first hand and becomes a refugee in the process. These complex and startling works invite the viewers to immersively consider what it really means to have refuge, and the ways in which safety and security effect our lives.
These specific artists, working in different mediums and different countries, are connected through the common narrative, but each depicts their varied experiences and identities in distinctive ways, styles, and mediums. Ultimately, these works symbolize a celebration of survival and perseverance, of community, and of culture.
Miller Art Museum, Wisconsin, March 2019