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 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.