Cem A. and Jina Khayyer | Curators in residence
Jina Khayyer. a cherry rarely grows alone, 2023
This residency and dialogue is part
of SEA Foundations’ longer-term
research of art and sustainability
fold #07 on Solidarity
Cem A. and Jina Khayyer
cherries rarely grow alone 🍒
What can one human be to another human other than blood and roots?
The question of origin is a topic that occupies Cem A. and Jina Khayyer.
Origin as in root
Having roots in Mesopotamia, artist and curator Cem A. and writer and poet Jina Khayyer are inviting fellow artists, whose roots also lie between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, to explore solidarity today in all its dimensions.
The idea for this came about because both Jina Khayyer and Cem A. have been starkly confronted with their origins in recent months. For Cem A. it was when a twin earthquake struck Turkey and Syria in February 2023. The disaster brought Cem A. closer to his roots and helped him to understand how he identifies. For Jina Khayyer it was when, on September 16th 2022, a girl that bore her name, Jina Mahsa Amini, was beaten to death by the morality police in Teheran for not correctly wearing her hijab, which since then sparked a revolution in Iran, the first female led revolution in the world.
Having conversations with friends whose roots lie between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, Cem A. and Jina Khayyer started to explore Mesopotamian identity and how it unites them and relates to their experiences beyond borders. Cem A. and Jina Khayyer aim to create new forms of solidarity within the Mesopotamian diaspora. For this first edition at SEA Foundation, Cem A. and Jina Khayyer will invite Cihad Caner (artist), Ümit Akalan (sensory anthropologist), Havîn Al-Sîndy (artist), Abbas Zahedi (philosopher and poet) to spend four days together at the SEA Foundation, sharing space, food and conversation, to investigate notions of diasporic solidarity today.
About the curators:
Cem A. is an artist and curator with a background in anthropology. He is known for running the art meme page @freeze_magazine. Since its inception in 2019, @freeze_magazine has become a tool for creative collaborations between Cem and fellow artists, researchers and organisations. His work explores topics such as survival and alienation in the art world, often through a hyper-reflexive lens. He is a member of Hœr NY, a feminist queer and bisexual lesbian art collective founded with Harley Aussoleil and Frances Breden in 2022.
Jina Khayyer is a writer, poet and journalist. Born in Germany, of Iranian descent, Khayyer studied painting at the Bauhaus (Dessau) and journalism at the Deutsche Journalistenschule (Munich). Since the 1990s, Khayyers’ writing has frequently appeared in Süddeutsche Zeitung, Zeit Magazin, Zeit.de, Libération, Stern, 032c, Purple, The Gentlewoman, Fantastic Man and Apartamento.
Khayyers’ prose and poetry is known for challenging the concepts of origin, identity, heritage and gender, and in doing so exploring the question of How Not To Break? She is the author of several books of autofiction and poetry. Her first book, ÄLTER ALS JESUS, Mein Leben Als Frau (Older than Jesus, My Life as a Woman) was released in 2015. In November 2021 her first collection of poetry, NOT DARK YET, but it’s getting there was published in France. Khayyer writes in German, English and French and is fluent in Farsi. Since 2006 Khayyer lives and works in France.
About the invited artists:
Cihad Caner is an artist living and working in Rotterdam and Istanbul. His practice explores the politics of the image through the mediums of video, photography, music, motion-capture, and CGI. Caner combines historical and contemporary references to confront issues related to (re)presentation, language, marginalization, alterity, and the process of image production, and circulation. Recently he has exhibited at The Finnish Museum of Photography, Hong Kong Arts Center, Bohai Galerie, Kasseler Kunstverein, Corridor Project Space, Blitz Malta, and EYE Filmmuseum.
Dr. Ümit Akalan is a sensory anthropologist and food culture researcher who specializes in Mediterranean and Anatolian cuisine. Her dedication to local food culture culminated in her first book, Kala-Afiyet (2003), which explores the preparation skills, recipes, and food culture of Bozcaada. In 2019, Dr. Ümit Hamlacıbaşı completed her PhD in sensory anthropology with a focus on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Her research centered on the sensory experiences, skills, and spatial practices of the bazaar. To analyze the performance skills in the bazaar, she utilized sensory walks as a research method. Her work provides a unique insight into the sensory landscape of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and its role in shaping the city’s food culture.
Havîn Al-Sîndy works in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Kurdistan. Al-Sîndy studied at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She graduated as a master student in 2018. In parallel, she studied biology and chemistry at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She currently teaches at the University of Fine Arts in Braunschweig.
Havîn Al-Sîndy’s works are located in the field of sculpture, painting and moving images. She is concerned with artistic and scientific processes of making things visible, finding languages for what is difficult to say, as well as the ambivalences in the production of visibility itself. Her working method is processual and mostly collaborative.
Abbas Zahedi (b. 1984, London, UK), studied medicine at University College London, before completing his MA in Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins in 2019. Abbas blends contemporary philosophy, poetics, and social dynamics with performative and new-media modes. With an emphasis on how personal and collective histories interweave, Abbas makes connections whenever possible with people involved in the particular situations upon which he focuses.