Familiar Stranger

SYDNEY. 7 APRIL – 21 MAY 2017.

Artists: Shumon Ahmed, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Bashir Makhoul, Veer Munshi, Shireen Taweel and Curtis Taylor.

The reconciliation between memory and reality plagues the act of returning. There is no resolution between the two. Memories are etched into the psyche hinged on topographical monuments, whispered words and subconscious everyday patterns while reality erases such symbology through the passing of time. Familiar Stranger examines this third, non-existent space that plagues the returnee as they seek to retrace their memories in places that have been rebuilt or reinscribed. With familiarity reduced to invisible archaeological sites the returnee searches for recognition and legitimacy in a now unacquainted geography.

The exhibiting artists examine the negation and erasure of familiarity by presenting place as a space defined by uncertainty. There is a continue shift between points of view that begets the collapse of spatial certainty and becomes defined by its own instability. For the migrant the idea of returning becomes an implicit part of their identity; the constant oscillation between the possibility and impossibility of return a daily taunt. In Familiar Stranger the moment of return is the focal point where, for some, it is a wistful hope and for others a violent decimation of expectancy. Resisting melodrama, the artists turn to the familial archive and the personal memorial to bring form to the constant internal struggle between what is and what was.



Exhibition Opening:
6.00pm – 8.00pm Thursday 6 April
Exhibition to be opened by Brendan O’Flynn, Human Rights Watch.
Opening performance from Chun Yin Rainbow Chan from 7PM – 7.30PM
RSVP here.

Panel Discussion:
2.00pm – 3.00pm Saturday 8 April
Join Familiar Stranger artists Chun Yin Rainbow Chan and Shireen Taweel, Fairfield Parents’ Cafe team leader Haitham Jaju and 4A Director Mikala Tai for a discussion about the realities and experiences of returning from migrant, refugee and artistic perspectives. RSVP here.

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan Performances:
Visit 4A at the following times to see Chun Yin Rainbow Chan perform as part of her Familiar Stranger work:
11.30am Saturday 22 April
2.00pm Saturday 29 April

Cantonese Language Classes:
As part of the public program for Familiar Stranger, the public are invited to join us for weekly Cantonese language classes on Thursday nights for the duration of the exhibition. With a curriculum curated by Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, join us for these one-hour classes to either refresh or learn new language skills and gain a further insight into Chan’s work. Find out more here – bookings open soon!