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When Solidarity Is Not a Metaphor

Curated by: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez

Du 16 au 21 avril 2024

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When Solidarity Is Not a Metaphor offers a counter-space to the reigning agendas of war, patriarchal and climate toxicity. Inspired by the title of the book Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor (2012) in which authors Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang analyze the material and factual violences of colonialism, the exhibition positions solidarity as praxis. The invited artists—alumni, current residents or collaborators of the Cité internationale des arts in Paris and of the Alserkal Initiatives network originating in Dubai, are working around some of the most dehumanizing situations of our contemporary world in the form of long-term engagements. They counter the understanding of ‘solidarity’ as merely an object of theorizing and discourse. Solidarity here is articulated as compassionate porosity, as a feminist, care-driven fluidity of moving across mindsets. Its most humble unit of expression might be held in the word ‘with’—working, thinking, speaking and simply being in a state of with-ness.


Many of the featured artists of When Solidarity Is Not a Metaphor share the same destiny of forced displacement and are doubly committed, both to igniting questions that address these displacements, and to sustaining ethical practices of production. When Solidarity Is Not a Metaphor is composed of artistic practices spanning installations, photographs, performances, listening sessions and heart-to-heart conversations that form a generative space during six days.


It is not incidental that Alserkal Initiatives and Cité internationale des arts decided to collaborate on this project. Cité has been hosting French and international artists of all disciplines, generations and nationalities at its Marais and Montmartre sites since its creation in 1965, gradually adding to a unique collective memory. Grounded in the values of hospitality, conviviality and safe space, Cité is an unparalleled artistic venue for international exchange. From its creation onwards, it has also continuously hosted artists whose practices have been impacted by exile. Alserkal Initiatives contributes to re-framing narratives–-about complex geographies, artistic practices, and creative production‑- providing opportunities and platforms for practitioners to experiment, deepen their research, and engage with diverse audiences. 


With the artists:
Majd Abdel Hamid, Yana Bachynska, Rehaf Al Batniji, Paula Valero Comín, Saad Eltinay, D Harding, Adelita Husni-Bey, Nge Lay, Museum of Breath, Koushna Navabi, Shada Safadi, Dima Srouji and Jasbir Puar.

With contributions by
DAAR - Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, Initiative for Practices and Visions of Radical Care (Bani Khoshnoudi, Magdi Masaraa, Elena Sorokina), Maya Al Khaldi and Sarouna, Nepal Picture Library, R22 Tout-Monde, Zora Snake, Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman.

Curated by: Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Arts & Culture Programme Manager at the Cité internationale des arts
Curatorial team: Simona Dvorák, Kevin Jones & Zaina Zaarour


Created by Alserkal Initiatives in partnership with Cité internationale des arts. In collaboration with Lightbox.