All Exhibitions

Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous

17 October 2018 – 16 February 2019

Atrium and Galleries 3 and 5

Curated by Hendrik Folkerts (Art Institute of Chicago) and Laura Barlow (Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art)

In the ongoing series I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, Mounira Al Solh collects personal histories and experiences that emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East. Born in Beirut to a Lebanese father and a Syrian mother, the artist began the series in 2012, shortly after the popular uprising in Syria that led to the ongoing Syrian war. These drawings document private encounters and conversations between herself and those fleeing the war in Syria –forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe and the United States. The more than one hundred and fifty portraits displayed in the exhibition chronicle individual accounts of departure, arrival, trauma and uncertainty. The embroideries in the series are made through collaborative work with women in refugee and minority communities to represent the shared stories of families or groups of people, rather than the individual accounts in the portraits. The most recent addition to the project is Sperveri, a bed-tent installation that serves as a commemorative monument to those lost and deceased.

Al Solh lives and works between Lebanon and the Netherlands. Exploring the weight of our histories with a humorous and often self-reflective approach, her work can be deeply political – yet also fictional and fantasized.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Founded in 2010, is situated in Education City in Qatar Foundation (QF), in a renovated former school building. QF is led by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

Mounira Al Solh, Sperveri, 2017 (front), embroidery and mixed media on linen and cotton, various dimensions and My speciality was to make a peasants’ haircut, but they obliged me work till midnight often, 2014–2017 (back), textile collages with hand- and machine stitched embroidery and mixed media, various dimensions. Installation photograph of Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, February 8 - April 29, 2018, Art Institute of Chicago. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mounira Al Solh, 'Sperveri', 2017 (front), embroidery and mixed media on linen and cotton, various dimensions and My speciality was to make a peasants’ haircut, but they obliged me work till midnight often, 2014–2017 (back), textile collages with hand- and machine stitched embroidery and mixed, various dimensions. Installation photograph of Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, February 8 - April 29, 2018, Art Institute of Chicago. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012-ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Installation photograph of Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, February 8 - April 29, 2018, Art Institute of Chicago. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012-ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Installation photograph of Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, February 8 - April 29, 2018, Art Institute of Chicago. Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous 2012–ongoing. Mixed media on legal paper, various dimensions. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

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