Residua refers to the solid particles that remain after a liquid has evaporated. The process involves the alteration in form of a substance over a period of time and under a set of conditions. The resulting particles can be visible or invisible, scattered or composed – and all of them are in a constant state of flux.
In this exhibition, we examine how contemporary Arab cultures are continuously transforming. Bonds between language, politics, geography and public memory are constantly loosened and strengthened, dissolved and restored with shifts in circumstances and attitudes. The artists in residua reflect on the processes and experiences that reinvent Arab identities.
Arabs are confronted with challenges to their cultural identity due to many life experiences, among them: immigrating to a new country and leaving family behind; translating colloquialisms from one language to another such that their full meaning is lost; re-mapping territorial borders over years of conflict; demolishing old buildings and using the rubble to build new ones; and the rise and fall of public icons and political regimes.
These human experiences all leave behind residue that inexorably takes a place in re-moulding contemporary Arab identity.