Kafie project – NY2013

"Mc Saaiha" 40 x 54 inch. Plexiglass. Series of 3 + 1 A.P.
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The Kaflab Foundation launches its inaugural exhibition, Beyond the Cloth, part of The Kafiye Project, curated by Hala A. Malak, at White Box Projects–a space chosen for its alternative, challenging, and influential exhibitions. Various complementary multimedia events and performances will take place throughout the month of September (Sunday
Salons*).

The Kafiye is the strongest symbol to come out of the Arab contemporary world. Treading realms of street, politics, revolution, traditional garb, trends, and catwalks, the Kafiye has transcended form and function to become much more than a mere item. The story of this powerful icon continues to evolve tremendously, and keeps adapting with globalization over time.

Beyond the Cloth aims to demystify clichés surrounding the Kafiye, while assertively addressing its enduring global significance. Despite its popular association with Palestinian culture, the design actually derives from Ancient Mesopotamian times. Today, it has spread all over the world in a multitude of forms, patterns, colors and printing styles, and succumbed to the rules of globalization: while there is only one factory in Palestine left currently producing the garment, most Kafiyes are made in China.

Beyond the Cloth presents the Kafiye as a tool of artistic expression to examine emotional and socio-political questions of identity, through themes like trauma, loss, remembrance, the private versus the public, struggle, rejection, national unity, resistance, expression, memory and Orientalism. The featured artists and designers fuse connections between the West and the Arab World, starting with their own personal stories and struggles and connecting to bigger topics of consciousness and circumstance.

We all wear masks; and the Kafiye has the power to conceal personal identity and bring forth a communal connection, reflected in its compelling geometric pattern. The exhibition unifies the collective consciousness manifested by the Kafiye’s multitudinous and dynamic narratives, and its connections to identity, power, and struggle.

A mix of award-winning, established, and emerging artists of diverse backgrounds and mediums have been invited to participate in the exhibit:
Carolee Schneemann, Tsibi Geva, Larissa Sansour, Anthony Haden-Guest, Igor Molochevski, Mary Mattingly, Zena El Khalil, Yasira Nun, Yucef Merhi, Rosalinda Gonzalez, Wojtek Ulrich, Romulo Sans, Erum Naqvi. Bahram Hajou, Hassan Hajjaj, Roger Moukarzel, Osama Esid, Kevork Mourad, threeAsfour, Chadi Younes, Houmam Al Sayed, Sabyl Ghoussoub, Muhyiddin Sadek, Tony Khoueiry, Chris Carr, Marianna Zoghbi, Oussamah Ghandour, Gabriel Ferneine, Saffaa and Pasha Radetzki.