Gui Mohallem produces images that attempt to coalesce the memories told by his migrant family; however, gaps and scars arise, relating to both the diasporic displacement of the 1950s and to the artist’s drive to investigate his own identity in the present.
This newly commissioned installation combines deeply personal narrative photography and video taken from Tcharafna, an ongoing project, as well as newer works. Tcharafna is the story of two journeys: that of the artist going back to Lebanon, where his family emigrated from, and the collective narratives of migration he grew up with in Brazil. Voices of the present intertwine with those of the past as archival materials act as proofs new understandings. On this journey, the artist’s permeable position of both belonging to his roots and being totally estranged from them allows for more complex narratives to emerge. The permeability of oneself in a familiar and/or estranged situation in relation to a community, a place, a language, a medium, or material inform this work – and most of Mohallem’s post-documentary projects.
Gui Mohallem (1979) was born in Brazil to Lebanese parents. His work is founded on the processes of subjectification and estrangement inherent in the notion of “displacement”, which in his work he applies to exiled communities and queer identity. He is the co-founder of two intersectional NGOs for human rights. He had his first solo show in New York City in 2008 and, since then, he has had exhibitions at various galleries and museums in Brazil, in the USA, Iceland, Estonia, and Spain. He has two books out: Welcome Home (2012) and Tcharafna (2014). He was recently selected for the 21st SESC_ Videobrasil Biennial with his work with the collective #VoteLGBT.