March 2010 - March 2013

February 2013

Playhouse Derry/Londonderry

Residency with Khaled Barakeh

A conceptual artist and active member of many civil groups campaigning for victims of war, Khaled undertook a research based residency with ICAN, focusing on the divided communities of Derry~Londonderry. His artwork was exhibited in Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast and his concepts and artwork contributed to extensive dialogues and discussion at the 2013 ICAN conference, ‘Challenging Place’.

Khaled Barakeh graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University (2005) and holds an MA from Funen Art Academy in Denmark (2010). His works have been presented in many countries worldwide. Currently he is about to finish his Meisterschueler with Simon Starling’s class in the Stadelschule in Frankfurt am Main.

Khaled originally comes form Golan Heights in Syria, where the conflict has been going on since 1967. Political Issues were formative in his personality, particularly during his mandatory service in the Syrian military. Painting the President’s picture over and over again, means he knows how art is in itself a weapon, and this led to his decision to use that weapon to help those who have been victimised by it and to make it a medium of change. When the revolution began two years ago Khaled was in Damascus, taking part in the ‘peaceful struggle’, using art to make real change. In this dire time, the limits of creativity have been broadened out of necessity to survive for many Syrians.

As suppression grows and intensifies, the role of the responsible artist expands too, expanding into the roles of activist, artist and that of a journalist; leading to new ways to communicate and change the narratives that have been imposed by the suppressors.

Presently, he is part of many civil groups in a bid to help the victims of war, one of which boasts a membership of over 400, including artists, writers and filmmakers. Their voluntary work serves to maintain the peaceful nature of the revolution, and to temper the anger of the people, to avoid attacks and perhaps even civil war; as they can see first-hand how an armed resistance can destroy a nation, but they need to preserve the rights of those in resistance to the dictatorship.

Khaled believes that the overlap between his personal and academic background, has had a profound effect on his artistic practices. His works often include references to political issues, and tend to deal with ‘current and pertinent concerns’ revolving around identity, cultural and historical matters and even power structures.

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