Saddie Choua (Brussels) works in the development programme from October 2019 to January 2020. Her conceptual work is a critique of the exotic and stereotypical narratives about migration and 'the other' that are common in contemporary media.
Saddie Choua makes Kunsthal Gent the basis for her research into pain and trauma that results from racism: her own pain, but also the pain of others. Continuing her recent project for Contour 2019, she installs ‘a room of her own’ in Kunsthal Gent: a personal salon where she receives a series of female guests, promoting a spirit of sisterhood during her work period. The salon is made together with Finnish artist Tuija Asta Järvenpää, with whom she will work several weeks in Kunsthal Gent experimenting with site, space and situations in order to create new encounters.
The salon is the space where Choua will dissect her own trauma around racism, in a series of therapeutical sessions with a female psychologist. These recorded sessions form the basis for new work, further meetings and public moments in the salon.
One of the guests is the Turkish sociologist Selen Göbelez - who is also a doula or pregnancy and childbirth counsellor. Göbelez is working on a doctoral study about pain through childbirth narratives of women in Turkey. Together they will dive into the story of the Turkish sociologist Dicle Koğacıoğlu, who was researching honour killings in Istanbul and committed suicide in 2009 because she could no longer bear the pain she had seen. For her research Saddie Choua also involves women from the Turkish community in Ghent, with the intention of linking honour killings with feminicide (murder of women for the sake of their womanhood) and make it possible to discuss these topics.
By bringing her personal life into her research on pain resulting from racism, Choua practices methods for change in the discourse around ‘the other’. At the same time, this project is a research into HOW to make work about the pain of others - because eventually, who makes what about whom?
About the work of Saddie Choua
Am I the only one who is like me? This is a question characteristic of Saddie Choua’s life and work. It problematizes the position of the solitary I that is also never disconnected from the other. The power order that conditions the solitary “I”, is another central subject. Where does this otherness sit in the hierarchy of power? Where is her oppression and exploitation concealed or exoticed? Saddie Choua asks us to think about how we consume images and dialogues about the other and how they affect our self-image and historical consciousness. How can we intervene in the images that write our history and conceal social struggle? Do we first have to refute memory to tell another story? Or is the removal or recombining of certain associations and references already sufficient to create a different history and self-image? Saddie Choua's work can therefore be read as a fragmented self-reflective visual essay that questions the relationship between maker and image. How do you make blind spots that just invite you to forget visible? „How to speak and depict differently from a subalternal position, or is it just the concept of "the other" that confines me in dominant images and narratives?” Saddie Choua is doing a phd in the arts at RITCS School of arts and was recently nominated for the Belgian Art Prize 2020.
Friday 29 November 2019, 20:00:
Saddie Choua: artist talk + film screening
in collaboration with Tuija Asta Järvenpäää, Saffina Rana, WMNS Parliament, Yma Sumac, Googoosh & Lina Bo Bardi) + film screening: Je crois qu’il y a une confusion chez vous. Vous croyez que moi je veux vous imiter. #FatimaMernissi (2017) - film portrait of Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi, who worked for equal rights for men and women. By using archive material and found footage, Choua mixes fiction and non-fiction, thereby inciting critical reflection on the Western Orientalist view of the Islamic world.
Friday 13 December 2019, 20:00:
Videowork by Saddie Choua, coinciding with the presentation of The Third Landscape by croxhapox at Kunsthal Gent
January 2020 (date tbc): workshop with French/Turkish sociologist Selen Göbelez around the research into honour killings and the suicide of Turkish sociologist Dicle Koğacıoğlu.
Film screening Dicle, by Seren Gel.
Image: Jean-Pierre Stoop