Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous
  • The ongoing drawing and embroidery series I strongly believe in our right to be frivolousby Mounira Al Solh (born 1978) collects histories and personal experiences that continue to emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East.

    Born in Beirut to a Lebanese father and Syrian mother, Al Solh started the series in 2011, shortly after the civil uprising in Syria, and continues to the present-day Syrian civil war. The project documents deeply personal encounters and conversations between the artist and Syrian refugees as well as other people from the Middle East who were forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world. The oral histories of displaced individuals to which Al Solh bears witness are as much administrative accounts as personal ones: many of the portraits are drawn on yellow legal paper, a material index of the painstaking bureaucratic processes immigrants go through in order to obtain citizenship.

    While the drawings map geographies of departure, arrival, and nonarrival through storytelling, the embroideries serve as testaments to more collective histories. Weaving together the accounts that connect and divide families, friends, and other relations across the spaces and temporalities of migration, these portraits made on fabric culminate in the Sperveri, a so-called bed-tent that memorializes recent events in the Middle East and Europe within a larger history of Islamic culture.

Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous
  • Location: Art Institute of Chicago
  • Address: 111 S. Michigan Ave.
  • February 8, 2018 - April 29, 2018
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Recurring daily