“Inhabiting the Mediterranean” is an exhibition with a mosaic of images, of ancient and contemporary works, of artists from all its shores, all translating the complex, contradictory, inclusive and exclusive image of peoples and cities, erected with walls that allow passage or present a barrier, beneath a light that illuminates or blinds.
Beyond the idyllic view of the Mediterranean Sea portrayed in the early 20th century by northern painters who were fascinated by its light, the Mediterranean has encompassed a superimposition, mingling and confrontation of languages, cultures and religions since the beginning of history. It is also an urban context, consisting of historic cities that have been destroyed and rebuilt, illusory holiday agglomerations and camps of people who do not have access the city.
On this occasion, the gallery lends the portolio of 9 woodcuts, entitled “These Cities Blotted into the Wilderness” by Indian artist Zarina Hashmi. In this work, the artist represent cities known for the civilisations they spawn, their history and their cultural influence. She addresses the troubling question of the way we see these cities today. Each woodcut evokes the tragedies of war and terrorism, and also the irreversible devastations – material, physical, and especially psychological – they cause. Today, Baghdad is just a field of ruins in our mind, so are Beirut and Kabul. And one cannot invoke New York without bringing out the memory of 9-11. The black lines, soaked with ink, accentuate the force of this evocation. Zarina draws theses places to ensure that the indelible mark of their tragic history on our minds will never fade.