MECACS Art Exhibition 29th May-8th June

Thursday 18 May 2023

MECACS is organising an art exhibition ‘Reflections on Exile and Displacement from the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus’, which will explore issues ranging from family and human rights to homelessness and war. Artists from Afghanistan, Georgia, Palestine and Yemen will reflect on their experiences of exile and displacement. The exhibition takes place across three venues: the University of St Andrews Arts Lecture Theatre Foyer, the Students’ Union, and St Andrews Library, from Monday 29 May.

The works displayed will offer insight not only into the lives of those experiencing war and other conflicts but into the dynamics of the societies they come from. Discussion around these themes continually evolves and, as more countries produce migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, the exhibition seeks to produce a creative contribution to the conversation by offering a space to artists from the region who have experienced exile or displacement.

Home in Jaffa by Heba Mohamad

The exhibiting artists are Qusai Aljaradat, Shatha Altowai, David Giunashvili, Heba Mohamad, and Ghafar. A guide to the exhibition will be available at the three venues. Additional events include guided tours, a talk with Ghafar at the St Andrews Botanical Gardens at 12 noon on Friday 2 June, and a photography exhibition on ‘Picturing Peace in Congo’ at the Byre Theatre from Tuesday 6 June organised by the Visualising War research group.

An Artist Without Wings by David Giunashvili

At a launch event, in the Learning Loft of the University’s Wardlaw Museum on the afternoon of Friday 26 May, a panel of artists and academics will host a discussion around various themes under investigation within the project.

MECACS Director and lead organiser of the exhibition, Dr Fiona McCallum Guiney, says of the project: “MECACS is honoured to be collaborating with displaced artists from the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasus to provide a space for the University and local community to reflect upon the shared but diverse experiences of displacement and exile.”

Artist Shatha Altowai explained why contributing to the exhibition is so important to her: “Over the past seven years, I have personally experienced displacement, exile and war, and the concept of a homeland now only exists within my artwork and the sense of security I feel when I enter my own creative world. It brings me great joy to see events that address human issues like this one being organised and held.”

The collaborative exhibition is organised by MECACS, the Centre for Art and Politics (CAP), the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) and the Third Generation Project in the University’s School of International Relations, along with the Centre for Minority Research and the Visualising War research group.

Family No. 8 by Shatha Altowai

The exhibition will run from Monday 29 May to Thursday 8 June 2023, Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm in the Arts Lecture Theatre Foyer (accessed via The Scores), the Student Union (top floor foyer) in St Mary’s Place, and in the St Andrews Library (not open Tuesdays). Free guided tours take place on Monday 29May at 2pm, Thursday 1 June at 11.30am, Monday 5 June at 1.30pm, and Thursday 8 June at 10.30am starting from outside the Student Union. For more information, follow MECACS on Twitter @MecacsStA or contact [email protected]