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Bouchra Khalili: First solo show in Canada

Bouchra Kahlili, Speeches: Malcolm X
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Bouchra Kahlili, Speeches: Malcolm X, 2012, 6’30. Video still from “Speeches – Chapter 1” video installation, 5 single channels. 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Polaris.

French-Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili is having a solo show in Toronto 3 September – 27 October 2013 with recent works featuring Malcolm X, Mahmoud Darwish and Mohamed ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi, among others.

Bouchra Khalili: The Opposite of the Voice-Over features two of the artist’s major recent projects, The Mapping Journey and Speeches.

Bouchra Khalili’s work often takes the form of video installations, among other mediums, to explore the temporal and spatial dislocation associated with migration and exile. Underscored by her own history (Khalili was born in Casablanca, in 1975, and studied film and visual art in Paris), her works elaborate on the complex sense of subjectivity that accompanies the traversal of national boundaries marked by colonial history, postcolonial realignments of territory, economic deprivation, and capitalism.

On the occasion of Khalili’s first solo show in Canada, the Justina M Barnicke Gallery presents The Mapping Journey Project (2008–2011), is an eight-channel video installation that records the voices of individuals forced into exile as they retrace their clandestine and circuitous journeys on a map of the Mediterranean region, across guarded borders, often to be shuttled back only to begin their journey again. Speeches—Chapter 1: Mother Tongue (2012), the second work, is part of a trilogy entitled The Speeches Series (2012- 2013), articulating issues of language, citizenship, and working class. For the first chapter comprised of a five-channel video installation focusing on language, Khalili invited five individuals to translate and recite into their own dialects and languages fragments of speeches by Malcom X (1925 – 1965), freedom fighter Mohamed ben Abdelkrim El Khattabi (1882/83-1963), and poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008), among others. Exiled from their home countries, the speakers anchor the speeches in their own contexts and bodies—in Paris and its suburbs—but raise the question of translation, of creolization as Édouard Glissant defines it, and of the superimposition of political contexts, and the movement between native languages as elements of political struggles.

Based in Berlin, Bouchra Khalili has shown her work all around the world, including including most recently the Encyclopedic Palace, at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013, as well as at Intense Proximity – La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012); The 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); The MoMA as part of the film exhibition “Mapping Subjectivity” (New York, 2011); The 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011); The Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon, 2011); The Liverpool Biennial (2010); The Studio Museum, New York (2010); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2010); INIVA, London (2010); The Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid (2009); and The Queens Museum of Art, New York (2009), among others. Khalili is also the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including The Louis Lumière Award (2005); The Image/Mouvement Grant (2007); The Videobrasil Residency Award; The Cultures France Hors Les Murs Award in 2010. Most recently, she received the 2014 Abraaj Group Art Prize for artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The exhibition is curated by Barbara Fischer.

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON

Author: Editor

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