From Rochester with Love
From Rochester with Love: Conversations in the Midst of the Syrian Conflict
A project by the artist Hala Georges
Herbert Read Gallery, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury
The exhibition functions as a counter-point to the mainstream media news about the on-going war in Syria by focusing on the intimate communications between the artist and her family back in Damascus. Hala Georges (Damascus, 1985), who arrived to the UK five years ago, has produced a series of videos, animations, audio pieces, and an installation inspired by the testimonies and long-distance conversations with her friends and relatives.
Hala Georges’ practice is based on the personal and the domestic. The stories she presents are told by way of monologues, statements, and informal interviews with a small circle of participants. The participants conform a group consisting of the artist’s mother, sisters, nephews, nieces and a few friends; people, who have lived or are living with the conflict day-to-day. The presentation of their images and voices in the gallery creates a space of encounter with the hidden stories of these anonymous citizens.
Collecting material from Syria whilst being in the UK depended on weak and disrupted internet connection and phone calls. These difficult circumstances led to produce irregular and fragmented results; their varied condition evidences the problems and realities of communication in the midst of war. As such, Georges’ project tries to embody a truthfulness that media representations distort when trying to give a complete picture through gross simplification.
In Georges’ words: “The Syrian war started in March 2011 and since then my dream of returning home has slowly faded. The project is a piece of my heart made real by means of practice, and it is the way for me to be part of my family’s and country’s grief. I dedicate this exhibition to the memory of my late father Morris Georges.”