Group exhibition curated by Hanan Benammar and Noor Bhangu, ARTendal, Arendal, Norway, July 9-August 13, 2022. Photos by István Virág.
marks a porous space, delimited by a set of conventions.
برده hides and reveals, keeps enclosed and puts on display.
برده gestures to those practices long concealed from the outsider’s gaze.
برده can be an opening, an invitation to dialogue and relation.
برده is a transliteration between history, traditions, rituals and contemporaneity.
Considering the recent advances of queer discourse in the public sphere, برده returns to the binarisms of public and private, as they been practiced in Islamic history and culture. We understand Islamic history and culture as a field of ideas and complex geopolitical juxtapositions, which allows us to find alternative ways in which we can understand and describe queer space and experience.
Western notions of “coming out” and public homosexuality do not find easy translation in contexts where queer desires and identities have long been understood in terms of multiplicity in containment. Instead, cultures engaged with Islam have historically formed homosocial spaces that provided ample opportunities for erotic relation and the unfolding of alternative sexual identities, in parallel to patriarchal systems of gender segregation. Through this space of paradox, we aim to recover the space of queerness.
This group exhibition, alongside the accompanying panel discussion سياسة البرده, invites artists to share their own notions of what it means to be queer and queer space. Queer space, in this setting, is a spatial metaphor to consider the broader dynamics of power and knowledge as they unfold around queer practices. Moving between domestic interiors and public architectures, برده asks the audience to reflect on the binaries imposed on sexualized, gendered, and raced bodies through the frame of public and private.