17 September – 1 November 2020
Curator: Sarah Maske
Concept: Sarah Maske and Ayat Najafi
Participating Artists: birbuçuk collective, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Sinem Dişli, Negar Farajiani, Ayat Najafi, Mahmoud Obaidi, Tehran Platform (Mehran Davari, Niloofar Najafi, Elmira Shirvani)
The interdisciplinary art project Sandstorm – And Then There was Dust examines the origins and consequences of sandstorms with a mixture of artistic and scientific means and thus aims at reaching, sensitizing, and activating the civilian population living in the affected regions of Mesopotamia and its offshoots (today’s Turkey, Iraq and Iran). It focuses on the ecological phenomenon of sandstorms and the related socio-political circumstances.
The created ecological and political artworks result from a collaboration with the local inhabitants, activists, scientists and other related actors, in order to create sustainable impacts. The works examine roots and consequences of sandstorms and visualize them in the form of artworks on sites as well as in the exhibition shedding light on its historical, material, and conceptual formations.
The artists’ works try to inspire communities to use resources within their own contexts and practices and support the development of artistic and creative initiatives that reinforce both traditional and alternative knowledge and methods. Additionally, they aim at finding ways to prevent more and more desertification not only by fostering knowledge about this phenomenon, but also by presenting possible scenarios to prevent more damage. The exhibition presents ways to “stay with the trouble” (Haraway, 2016) and make the affected regions habitable for their citizens.
Both humans and non-human actors which are portrayed in the exhibition are affected by aforementioned environmental realities and this project provides a place for reflection through making these historical narratives visible.
A publication with contributions by eight writers from different fields and a video tour with performances by the artists will accompany the exhibition. Both will be available on Depo’s website shortly after the opening.
This project is a production by Arta Atelier, Berlin (Sarah Maske and Ayat Najafi) in cooperation with Depo, Istanbul and was funded and supported by:
Prince Claus Fund and Goethe Institut
With kind contributions by:
Kültür için Alan – Spaces of Culture
SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art From Turkey
Heinrich Böll Stiftung
ifa, Institut für Auslansdsbeziehungen
Image: Detail of the ‘Planting Gilgamesh’ Installation by Ayat Najafi, 2020