8/3/2021

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If not home

If not home focuses on the idea of connecting to a place that no longer exists. Not physically, per se, but the consideration that a place changes over time; that environments change. Altered by the passage of time itself; by people, by politics, and other factors. No place is really as you left it.

How, then, can you remain connected to a place that you cannot go to? 

Hekmat Shikwana creates beads from fruit and olive pits as an act that lives in place of returning to his home in Alqosh, Iraq. The action is his home, in that it has not changed. It is the same as when his father performed it, and when his grandfather performed it.

Like following a recipe, home is moving your body in the same rhythm that your ancestors moved in. Home, when displacement is so common, goes beyond the physicality of a single object or space to the physicality of your own body; the muscle in your hand that develops like that in your father’s hand.

For Shikwana and his daughter, Maia Asshaq, closeness comes in spite of the difference in their languages and cultural identities. Asshaq exercises the muscles in her hands by writing, hoping they match the muscles in his from filing down and painting seeds.

This exhibition features a small fraction of the beads Shikwana has made over the course of his life, and pairs them with writing from Asshaq.