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Artist talk: Khaled Barakeh (Syria / Germany)

Join an artist talk with conceptual artist and cultural activist Khaled Barakeh.

Khaled Barakeh is a Berlin-based conceptual artist and cultural activist. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, Syria, in 2005, completed his MFA in 2010 at Funen Art Academy in Odense, Denmark, and a Meisterschuler study in 2013 at the Städelschule Art Academy in Frankfurt, Germany.

His practice is based on reframing moments of dissonance, and often outright injustice, in political, and social structures. In recent years, his projects have delved into the media’s portrayal of victims of conflict, once cohesive communities divided by political strife, and the dynamics of integration for refugees.

Barakeh’s body of work is bold and offers thought-provoking statements. He delves into topical themes of migration, exile, and displacement. A multimedia practitioner, his works (...) remind the viewer of the complexities of bureaucracy that control a person’s sense of movement and being.

Rawaa Talass - Artsy. 10 Middle Eastern Artists to Discover.

Driven by his observations of longstanding social injustice, Barakeh approaches creative practice as a tool for societal change; manipulating commonplace visual and cultural touchstones to expose and undermine stagnant power structures. In a recent major shift in his practice, Barakeh developed coculture in 2017 - a non-for-profit umbrella organisation with a suite of initiatives that leverage artistic thinking to directly address issues of contemporary mass migration. Among these projects is the SYRIA Cultural Index and the Syrian Biennale. Barakeh has exhibited at Hamburger Kunsthalle, The 11th Shanghai Biennale, The Frankfurter Kunstverein, Salt Istanbul, The Busan Biennale, State Gallery of Lower Austria, Krems and MKG Hamburg, among many others.

In 2020, Barakeh unveiled his project MUTE. Spring and Summer of that year saw mass social restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which coincided with the first international trial for war crimes committed by members of the Syrian regime. Those who would have attended the case and demonstrated in support of this shift in accountability for the regime were prevented by travel restrictions and bans on social gathering. MUTE is a collection of about 50 inanimate figures, dressed in the donated personal clothing of artists and activists from across the Syrian diaspora. This silent demonstration stood in observance of the trial proceedings in front of the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany on the 1st of July, 2020.

In collaboration with coculture, Goethe-Institut, Kunstplass and Fotogalleriet.

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