The exhibition consists of completely different stories, eras and geographical places which merge into one feeling, image, thought at a certain moment. Childhood memories from the Young Pioneer camp intertwine with the experience of roaming in the streets of Syrian cities and villages. The story about art activities with children in Moroccan village also joins in.
From the first sight it seems that the stories have nothing in common, however they all have something invisibly similar – certain foreboding, readiness for approaching imaginary threat, actions that are performed with seriousness and responsibility. All that joins the invisible threads of the stories into dramatic knots.
Two portraits in the collection is created putting emphasis on primitive technique and painted on tarp, military tents. They are inspired by the collages done by Moroccan children. Inert aspiration for honour, authority and pride is presented in a completely simple form indicating the primitiveness and bestiality of these features characteristic to a human being.
Knots. Three stories
Erratic memories about childhood experiences from the Young Pioneer camp where the Young Pioneer education program included military training that had to train a citizen who would be always ready for war. The training took place at night, when Pioneers and Little Octobrists had not realized what challenges had been waiting for them. When everyone was deeply asleep, armed soldiers arrived by military cars, woke the campers up with sirens, seated frightened and sleepy children into trucks covered by tarp tents. Everyone was taken to the forest where soldiers were already running with automatic weapons, sirens were wailing, the shots from automatic weapons could be heard everywhere, sometimes explosions echoed, colourful smoke was hissing when rising in the air. Chaos and panic were in total darkness. We, children, struck by fear and confusion were hiding in various trenches.
When wandering in Syrian cities and villages, I was surprised to see children and adults dressed in military uniforms. Later I understood that it was a total norm. All country was ready for war, at that time it was still not known for what kind of war. One could purchase uniforms everywhere, for example, simply stepping out from a bus in any town bus stop. Children wearing jackets with epaulets and Syrian national symbols looked proud and not at all childish as if little people with a mission. Militarized society was waiting for a signal whether to attack or defend.
I had a wonderful opportunity to work, communicate and live with children and their families when I was giving art activities in one of the schools in Moroccan village. At school I gave a task to create portraits of family members using collage technique. After finishing games with collage, I noticed that children from all three classes created only male portraits. They all were like the traditional portraits, such as of country’s president, principal or any other important person. Such portraits could be seen hanging in classrooms. All of them had thick dark eyebrows and moustaches, some of them had beards. Primitive portraits with Arabic names written on the chests by children were full of wrath and aggression demanding to obey.
Where do anger and aggression come from? From fear and the most primitive and lowest human qualities if they are not under control.
THE STATE OF MARGINAL REALITY
07 12 2017 – 06 01 2017
Artists’ Association gallery
2 Vokiečių St, Vilnius
Photography: Dainius Trumpis