On the edge of fashion
Memories of a canary
In Maha Yammine’s exhibition “Memories of a canary”, the title is emblematic of a memory that is shared and individual in equal measure. In Lebanon – the country where Yammine was born and grew up – the canary was for a long time a pet, living in numerous households. At the same time, the memory of each animal is an individual one, and no two narratives about the birds that were kept as a pet will be similar to another. The exhibition at the Kunstverein Göttingen finds its starting point in those words with which stories for children usually begin. “Once upon a time…” From there, the exhibition meanders through the personal experiences of numerous protagonists, whose stories the artist collects and retells with the means of the art. In doing so, she creates a connection between the individual experience and a collective consciousness that is socially, politically, historically, and culturally shaped. The multi-voiced narrative that emerges through Yammines’ particular artistic work focuses, among others, on individuals who experienced the Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990). At the same time, it spans generations, symbolizing and echoing traditions while reinterpreting them. “Memories of a canary” not only gathers narratives of many people, but also translates them into different media. By doing so, a polyphonic network of memories is created in the exhibition that can be expanded continuously. Maha Yammine (*1986 / LBN) lives and works in Rouen, France. Her artistic practice consists of collecting and reactivating personal narratives. Through installations and videos, she initiates encounters between the individual, the social, the cultural and the historical. She studied visual arts in Beirut, Lebanon, and in Valenciennes, France. She has also participated in study programs in Paris and Lyon. She has received numerous awards for her artistic work, including the Boghossian Foundation Art Award in 2020. Yammine has participated in international exhibitions in Lebanon, France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland.