Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses


All Blessings, All Curses presents recent and newly commissioned works by Sydney-based artist, Justine Youssef. Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Youssef’s practice explores the stifling white heat of global xenophobia with deeply personal and universal ruminations that layer the smell, sights and textures of her ancestral homeland, Lebanon.

The strength of Justine Youssef’s practice lies in the poetics of her storytelling and observations: a teacher blackens Arabic script, fearing that it contains a religious hate message; a smoke detector deafeningly sounds as a mother burns bakhoor to rid the house of the evil eye; the looks of confusion two girls receive as they scrub clean a Persian rug in their driveway. These scenes represent the lived experience of the artist who transforms everyday occurrences into visual metaphors.

Justine Youssef’s intuitive methodology draws upon this archive of personal memories as a departure point for All blessing, all curses. Employing sculpture, video, installation and text, Youssef examines the difficult experiences of misunderstanding with the grand subjects of faith, love, family and home. In doing so, she creates immersive experiences that are both epic and intimate – whispering invocations of promise, comfort and resistance.

Justine Youssef (b. 1992, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Sydney) received her Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School, Sydney, in 2016 and is completing her Master of Fine Art at the same institution. She has held a solo exhibition at Addison Road Community Center in Marrickville in 2016, and has participated in group exhibitions at in Sydney at spaces such as Hoff Project Space, Darlinghurst; 55 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville; Bankstown Art Center, Bankstown; 475 King Street, Newtown; and Lilac City Studios, Surry Hills. Her work has also been featured in Antidote’s Moving Nations 2017, Collab Gallery, Chippendale. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Association for the Visual Arts; the National Art School Drawing Archive; and the Sydney Gallery School.