Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses

SYDNEY. 2 NOVEMBER – 16 DECEMBER 2018.

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 negates 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) is currently living on the unceded territory of the Darug peoples. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School, Sydney, Australia and is currently working from the Parramatta Artist Studios. She has been awarded the New South Wales Artists’ Grant (NAVA and Create NSW), as well as a studio residency at Blacktown Arts. She has held collaborative solo exhibitions at Seventh Gallery, Melbourne, and Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo with Duha Ali in 2018, and has participated in group exhibitions at Airspace Projects, Marrickville; Bankstown Art Center, Bankstown; Sullivan+Strumpf, Zetland; and 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.

Exhibition Documentation

All images: Document Photography

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Exterior view of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, In gallery interior: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, dimensions variable, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Left: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Right: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.
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Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. 

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Front left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

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Front left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front right: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Centre Front: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Middle Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef and Leila El Rayes, Burying that which binds into the chest of my beloved, 2018, photographic documentation (of single channel video, 6 minutes), 2 photographs, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

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Front: Justine Youssef and Leila El Rayes, Burying that which binds into the chest of my beloved, 2018, photographic documentation (of single channel video, 6 minutes), 2 photographs, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.