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OBSCURA, Halim Al-Karim and Arezu    May 23 - Jun 29, 2013

Eternal Love 11
Halim Al-Karim
Eternal Love 11, 2010
 
Eternal Love 4
Halim Al-Karim
Eternal Love 4, 2010
 
Lost Memory 14
Halim Al-Karim
Lost Memory 14, 2001
 
Black Crow 7
Arezu
Black Crow 7, 2011
 
  
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May 23 - June 29, 2013
Opening Reception
Thursday 23 May, 6-9pm

Amelia Johnson Contemporary and XVA Gallery present the work of established Iraqi artist, Halim Al Karim, and emerging Iranian artist, Arezu. In this exhibition, both artists utilise the analogue camera to produce obscured images that explore different considerations of freedom.

Halim's art practice is acutely influenced by years of hiding, persecution and violence that he suffered during the Gulf War. Opposing Saddam’s regime and its compulsory military service he took to hiding in a desert hole for three years. He survived only through the assistance of a Bedouin woman who brought him food and water and taught him about gypsy customs and mysticism. Al-Karim has since emigrated to America, however, these years had a profound effect on his life and form the basis for his art practice which focuses upon themes of politics, gender, fear, love, violence.

In works from his ‘Lost Memory’ series and his 'Eternal Love' series, Halim manipulates the negative or the subject (or both) to create striking blurred portraits. In his removal of any signifying markers, the artist prompts the viewer to think beyond the physical presence of a body to the sub-conscious. Halim is interested in how the mind can be free of the body’s external experiences. In ‘Lost Memory’, Halim shot his models out-of-focus and covered with a white silk material. The work explores the power of memory and in particular its ability to recall the good and render the bad obsolete. The works from the ‘Eternal Love’ series also portray unrecognizable people and evoke a consideration of how love can bind physically separated people, and its effect on those who find it and those who do not.

Arezu's images explore the sensation of space and freedom through distinct series. In one series, the artist depicts soaring birds to explore the physical release that the act of flight connotes. In others the artist uses female models to a similar end through obscured form.

Although both artists embrace the uncertainty of time and place, each series represented is visually different. Taken together though the works represent a distillation of contrasting approaches to liberty.

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